Article published in:The Expression of Inequality in Interaction: Power, dominance, and status
Edited by Hanna Pishwa and Rainer Schulze
[Pragmatics & Beyond New Series 248] 2014
► pp. 193–211
A true authoritarian type
How fonts can facilitate positive opinions for powerful groups
To convey authority in a document, people choose specific typefaces (or fonts). Studies find that repeating a message makes it more persuasive, and that different typefaces lead to different associations. Also, statements are more memorable when written in harder-to-read typefaces; yet more believable for easier-to-read ones. In each of the two present experiments, surveys measuring authoritarianism were written in various typefaces. The first experiment sought evaluations of groups such as the army and police. The second experiment included subject matters like illegal wiretapping by the F.B.I. The results suggested participants had more positive views for authoritarian groups and more likely supported morally questionable actions when the surveys were written in an easy-to-read typeface.
Published online: 12 June 2014
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