SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

“Contextomy” refers to the excerpting of words from their original linguistic context in a way that distorts the source's intentions. Contextomy prompts audiences to form a false impression of the source and contaminates subsequent interpretation when the quote is restored to its original context. In the reported experiment, participants read fabricated quotes about affirmative action and judged their sources' support for the policy. One quotation was strategically excerpted from a neutral paragraph to portray the source as either favoring or opposing the policy. When they later read the full paragraph, participants encouraged to infer attitude-related source characteristics revised their judgments less than others prompted to infer unrelated characteristics. The implications of these results are considered in light of contextomy's role in anti-affirmative action campaigns.