The world is witnessing the highest level of displacement of people on record. Public discourseoftenuseslabelstodescribepeopleonthemovesuchas‘migrants’,‘asylum seekers’, or ‘refugees’ interchangeably. A preregistered study in nine countries (Aus- tralia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom; N = 2844) tested experimentally the effect of these three labels on attitudes towards immigrants and immigration policies. We found a significant dif- ference between the label ‘migrant’ and both ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ on the social distance scale. Participants were happier if migrants, rather than asylum seek- ers and refugees, were their neighbours, friends, or partners. The effect was mediated by perceived benefits, but not threats, whereby migrants were perceived to bring more benefits to receiving societies than asylum seekers and refugees. To increase the accep- tance of immigrants, speakers may consider specifying the given group and emphasize benefits that immigrants bring to receiving societies.

Migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees: Different labels for immigrants influence attitudes through perceived benefits in nine countries

Bianchi, Mauro;Carnaghi, Andrea;Shamloo, Soraya Elizabeth;
2023-01-01

Abstract

The world is witnessing the highest level of displacement of people on record. Public discourseoftenuseslabelstodescribepeopleonthemovesuchas‘migrants’,‘asylum seekers’, or ‘refugees’ interchangeably. A preregistered study in nine countries (Aus- tralia, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom; N = 2844) tested experimentally the effect of these three labels on attitudes towards immigrants and immigration policies. We found a significant dif- ference between the label ‘migrant’ and both ‘asylum seeker’ and ‘refugee’ on the social distance scale. Participants were happier if migrants, rather than asylum seek- ers and refugees, were their neighbours, friends, or partners. The effect was mediated by perceived benefits, but not threats, whereby migrants were perceived to bring more benefits to receiving societies than asylum seekers and refugees. To increase the accep- tance of immigrants, speakers may consider specifying the given group and emphasize benefits that immigrants bring to receiving societies.
2023
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https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ejsp.2947
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11368/3046398
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