Journal article

Concept creepers: Individual differences in harm-related concepts and their correlates

Melanie J McGrath, Kathryn Randall-Dzerdz, Melissa A Wheeler, Sean Murphy, Nick Haslam

Personality and Individual Differences | Elsevier | Published : 2019

Abstract

Research on ‘concept creep’ argues that harm-related concepts such as abuse, bullying, prejudice, and trauma have expanded their meanings in recent decades. Theorists have suggested that this semantic expansion may have mixed implications. Broadened concepts might problematize harmful behavior that was previously tolerated but might also make people over-sensitive and fragile. Two studies using American MTurk samples (Ns = 276, 309) examined individual differences in the breadth of people's concepts of harm and explored their correlates. Study 1 found reliable variations in concept breadth that were consistent across four disparate harm-related concepts. As predicted, people with broader con..

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