Exercise 2: Abstract on Jargon Use

Exercise 2: Abstract on Jargon Study

In this section, I discussed the findings of a research paper suggesting that jargon occurred more frequently in the work of authors who represented less prestigious institutions. The abstract is fairly well written, as research paper abstracts go. But it could be improved. Please mark jargon and terminology. Then try to rewrite the abstract using simple, everyday words. When you are done, please feel free to make any observations and post them in the discussion area below.


Compensatory conspicuous communication: Low status increases jargon use


Jargon is commonly used to efficiently communicate and signal group membership. We propose that jargon use also serves a status compensation function. We first define jargon and distinguish it from slang and technical language. Nine studies, including experiments and archival data analyses, test whether low status increases jargon use. Analyses of 64,000 dissertations found that titles produced by authors from lower-status schools included more jargon than titles from higher-status school authors. Experimental manipulations established that low status causally increases jargon use, even in live conversations. Statistical mediation and experimental-causal-chain analyses demonstrated that the low status → jargon effect is driven by increased concern with audience evaluations over conversational clarity. Additional archival and experimental evidence found that acronyms and legalese serve a similar status-compensation function as other forms of jargon (e.g., complex language). These findings establish a new driver of jargon use and demonstrate that communication, like consumption, can be both compensatory and conspicuous.