This week, Yale University released a report about a fascinating study from Cydney Dupree, assistant professor of organizational behavior at Yale School of Management, and Susan Fiske of Princeton University. The study asked whether white liberal American politicians treat minority Americans differently than they do white audiences, and whether the same holds true for conservatives. The study examined 74 speeches delivered by white presidential candidates over the course of 25 years, about half to minority audiences and about half to white audiences. The speeches were then analyzed for the number of words related to ability and status (competence words), and the number of words related to friendliness (warmth words).
The results: white liberals tended to radically increase the number of warmth words and decrease the number of competence words used when speaking with minority audiences. According to the study, “Democratic candidates used fewer competence-related words in speeches delivered to mostly minority audiences than they did in speeches delivered to mostly white audiences.”