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Bringing Partiality to Light: Question Wording and Choice as Indicators of Bias

Published Online:https://doi.org/10.1521/soco.1997.15.2.91

It is argued that automatic linguistic behavior is an important process contributing to the mediation of expectancy effects in interview situations. An experimental study supported the hypothesis that participants' expectations about who caused a rape incident lead them to choose questions in which the question verb implied the agentic role of the person corresponding to their expectations (rather than identical questions that imply the opposite to their expectations). The implications of these findings for social hypothesis testing are discussed.