Deer Who Are Distant

Denise Dillon, Josephine Pang
2017 Society & Animals  
The study explores the influence of relative pronouns who or that on attributions of humanness across four categories of entities (unnamed nonhuman animals, named animals, machines, and people). Eighty-three university students performed an attribution task where they saw a priming phrase containing one category item with either who or that (e.g., deer who are ...) and then two trait attribute items (Uniquely Human UH/ Human Nature HN word pairs; e.g., distant-nervous), from which they selected
more » ... the trait attribute most meaningfully suited to the phrase. Data were analyzed with a repeated measures 2 (humanness: HN traits, UH traits) × 2 (pronoun: who, that) × 4 (category: unnamed animals, named animals, machines, people) ANOVA. Participants responded relatively faster to HN trait attributes than to UH traits, and responded faster to named animals than to all other entities. Faster responses also ensued for people-who pairings than people-that pairings, and vice versa for named animals. Keywords attributions of humanness -relative pronouns -language and behavior The study of language processes is important because humans communicate with each other primarily via the written and spoken word. The influence of language on behavior can be subtle (e.g., Hart & Albarracín, 2009), but should
doi:10.1163/15685306-12341482 fatcat:wbu5yhnp2nc3hkub4jtkfddunu