Effects of Verbal Aggression and Party Identification Bias on Perceptions of Political Speakers


Two experiments investigated the effects of verbal aggression, specifically character and competence attacks, on perceptions of political speakers. Verbally aggressive political speakers were perceived as less communicatively appropriate and credible than nonaggressive speakers, and were less likely to win agreement with their messages. Some evidence was found that perceptions were biased in favor of those who share a political party identification with the message recipient, and that more strongly Republican Party–identified participants perceived more verbal aggression in messages with no character and competence attacks and considered verbally aggressive Republicans more tactful.

Publication Title

Journal of Language and Social Psychology