When words become borders: Ingroup favoritism in perceptions and mental representations of Anglo-Canadian and Franco-Canadian faces

R. Thora Bjornsdottir, Simon Yeretsian, Greg L. West, Nicholas O. Rule

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Language is critical to social identity, including nationality. Some nations encompass multiple languages, however, raising questions about how their citizens perceive members of their national versus linguistic groups. We explored perceptions of Canadian nationality, which consists of two linguistic groups: Anglo-Canadians and Franco-Canadians. In Study 1, we used reverse correlation methods to visualize how Anglo- and Franco-Canadians mentally represent the faces of linguistic ingroup and outgroup members, and of Canadians in general. Structural similarity analyses and subjective ratings of the resulting images showed that both groups mentally represented Canadians as more similar to their own linguistic ingroup. In Study 2, Anglo-Canadians and Franco-Canadians rated photos of real Anglo- and Franco-Canadian targets. Both samples showed some ingroup favoritism when inferring their traits but only Anglo-Canadians could accurately differentiate group members. Differences between Anglo-Canadians and Franco-Canadians therefore extend beyond language, with linguistic groups impacting impressions before any words are spoken.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1021-1038
Number of pages18
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number7
Early online date12 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019

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