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Analyzing the Underlying Meanings of “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter”

Black Lives Matter protest at Hollywood & Vine. 2 JUN, 2020, LOS ANGELES, USA
The meaning of utterances, including social media hashtags, cannot be interpreted in isolation, and because of this, the meaning of phrases such as “Black Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” is sometimes obscured.

“Let’s Stay Safe; Please Keep Your Distance”: How to Politely Ask Other People to Maintain Social Distance

Couple separated while sitting on a couch
In our efforts to maintain social distance, asking other people to stay a safe distance away can be awkward and difficult. But research on how people make and interpret requests offers a solution.

The Persuasive Power of “You”

Woman pointing at camera with both hands
Something as seemingly minor as a pronoun can affect people’s judgments of the right way to act.

Psychology News Roundup: ICYMI September 20, 2019

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We're back, and publishing every other week here on Character and Context. This week's digital edition is extra full, since it's capturing two editions in one. See what you may have missed in the world of personality and social psychology in this week's ICYMI roundup.

Recently in the news, written a post, or have selections you'd like us to consider? Email us, use the hashtag #SPSPblog, or tweet us directly @spspnews. 

The Language of Torture

Metal Chair in a Spotlight in a Dark Black Room
Labeling inhumane interrogation techniques as “enhanced interrogation” instead of “torture” increases support for these practices.

Psychology News Roundup: ICYMI March 15, 2019

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Group texts, eco-shopping, and birth order all feature in this week's edition. Read on for the latest in social and personality psychology news and research. Recently in the news, written a post, or have selections you'd like us to consider? Email us, use the hashtag #SPSPblog, or tweet us directly @spspnews. 

Why Is Sarcasm so Difficult to Detect in Texts and Emails?

Image of a confused woman with her hands in the air looking at a computer screen

This sentence begins the best article you will ever read.

Chances are you thought that last statement might be sarcasm. Sarcasm, as linguist Robert Gibbs noted, includes “words used to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning of a sentence.” A form of irony, it also tends to be directed toward a specific individual.

Was Trump’s ‘Hope’ Comey’s Command? We Asked a Language Expert

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Much of former FBI Director James Comey’s recent congressional testimony hinged on a single utterance from President Donald Trump: “hope.”

According to Comey, on Feb. 14 President Trump dismissed the other participants from an Oval Office meeting and requested that Comey stay behind for a one-on-one conversation. During this conversation Trump reportedly said:

“I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Learning a New Language as a Refugee: A Bitter Pill? Or Easy as Pie?

A group of refugees at Language training session with instructor
When people migrate to a new nation where they must learn a new language, many factors influence their linguistic success.