Journal article

The language of defense - Linguistic patterns in narratives of transgressions

A Schutz, RF Baumeister

JOURNAL OF LANGUAGE AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY | SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC | Published : 1999

Abstract

To investigate how defensive motivations would affect patterns of language use, the authors compared narratives of personal transgressions (about hurting someone) against a set of narratives about making someone happy. Compared to the happy stories, transgression narratives were more likely to describe actions occurring without deliberate guidance or intention. Length in word count did not vary, but transgression narratives had shorter sentences, especially in the sections describing the transgression and its consequences. They had longer introductions, presumably to explain background and mitigating circumstances. Transgression narratives featured the emotions and thoughts of the narrator s..

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