Linguistic biases for words representing threat?
Popular theories in personality research argue for the existence of dimensions that underlie the behaviour, intentions and motives that comprise personality. A number of different research domains have implicated two of these dimensions to be of particular importance for gauging interpersonal aspects of personality. Cross-cultural research has shown that these two dimensions, Dominance / Passivity and Pro-Sociability / Anti-sociability, emerge through the analysis of natural language. The present study sought to investigate personality trait adjectives in relation to these two dimensions, arguing that adjectives that fall within a Dominant Anti-Social quadrant will have particular threat-related salience and cognitive biases. Three separate tests were conducted to assess the salience of threat to related personality adjectives with results indicating partial support for the hypothesis that natural language contains more words to describe threatening persons than positive or neutral persons.
Evolution and Cognition