The influence of language abstraction on judgments of romantic relationships.

Date of Award


Document Type



College of Liberal Arts

Degree Name

Bachelor in Arts


The purpose of the current research was to explore how the Language Expectancy Bias (LEB) and contextual situations influence people's judgments of others' romantic relationships. To explore how these two variables interact, participants read one of four scenarios where a female was describing her current partner and relationship in a LEB consistent or LEB inconsistent manner either to a group of friends or in her journal. Participants then answered questions about their judgments of the described relationship, specific characteristics of the people in the relationship, and whether or not they have been in a long-term relationship. People rated the relationship describer as having the most positive feelings towards the relationship in the LEB consistent and private condition. Preliminary findings also suggest that having past relationship experience made people more aware of what type of language is used to describe a good relationship (i.e., LEB consistent language) and what type of language is used to describe a not-so-good relationship (i.e., LEB inconsistent language). This study shows how the LEB and different situational contexts can influence others' perceptions and cause them to draw different conclusions based on particular language.