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Cognitive demands of gender-neutral language: the new genderless pronoun in the Swedish language and its effect on reading speed and memory
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The gender-neutral pronoun hen has been added to the Swedish language with the aim to reduce sexism in the language and make language more inclusive. An objection against the implementation of the word is that the word would be cumbersome to read and would take more cognitive capacity to process. The present study examined if that concern is warranted. 209 participants self-paced read five texts with three pronouns each. Participants were randomly distributed to conditions containing only hen, he/she, she, or he as pronouns. No difference was found between reading speed in the condition containing hen as a pronoun in comparison with the conditions using han, hon or han/hon. No overall difference in memory recall was found either. However, sexism was found to be a moderator for memory recall when reading a text including hen, leading to lower memory recall for individuals scoring high on modern sexism.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 19 p.
Keyword [en]
gender-neutral language, hen, reading speed, memory recall
National Category
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-122736OAI: diva2:868417
2015-06-14, Psykologiska institutionen, Frescati Hagväg 8, Stockholm, 09:00
Available from: 2015-11-16 Created: 2015-11-10 Last updated: 2015-11-16Bibliographically approved

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