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You are just being emotional! Testimonial injustice and folk-psychological attributions

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author DíazRodrigo, AlmagroManuel,
Project The Conceptual Space of the Affective Mind
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Synthese
Page(s) 1
Title of proceedings Synthese

Open Access


Testimonial injustices occur when individuals from particular social groups are systematically and persistently given less credibility in their claims merely because of their group identity. Recent “pluralistic” approaches to folk psychology, by taking into account the role of stereotypes in how we understand others, have the power to explain how and why cases of testimonial injustice occur. If how we make sense of others’ behavior depends on assumptions about how individuals from certain groups think and act, this can explain why speakers are given different degrees of credibility depending on their group identity. For example, if people assume that women are more emotional than men (and they consider that emotionality hinders credibility), they will systematically give less credibility to women’s claims. This explanation involves three empirical claims: (1) people assume that women are more emotional than men, (2) people assume that emotionality hinders credibility, and (3) people give less credibility to women’s claims. While extant studies provide some support for (1) and (2), no study to date has directly tested (3). In two different studies, we tested all these three claims. The results from both studies provide support for (2), as we found significant negative correlations between emotionality and credibility attributions. However, in contrast to what some accounts of folk psychology posit, we did not find any significant difference in people’s attributions of emotionality and credibility towards women versus men speakers. We hope that our studies here pave the way for further empirical studies testing the phenomenon of testimonial injustice in a context-sensitive way, in order to have a better understanding of the conditions in which testimonial injustices are likely to happen.