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A Night of Research

Six members of staff holding up cards related to their areas of research

How is language used in economics and politics to demonstrate power and manipulate? Let us explore the meaning of words and find out which tricks manipulators use.

Using various examples and interactive elements, we will show how language is used in economic and political contexts to demonstrate power and manipulate. This includes gender-specific prejudices, positive or negative connotations of different groups of words and argumentative strategies. Participants themselves can explore these areas in three different activities.

Doctor who?

Have you ever wondered about the issue of gendering and asked yourself where the gender of specific words comes from? Why is it “das Buch” but “die Torte”? And why is it “professors” in English while in German we say “ProfessorInnen” (or “Professor/innen”)? These questions as well as related linguistic theories will be the focus of our first activity.

What’s a covfefe?

For our second activity, we will analyze tweets from a political context to reveal wide-spread strategies of manipulation and their respective effects on communication. What exactly is it that makes a tweet manipulative? What signals a user’s position of power? And what’s a covfefe again?

Your blog is (the) shit!

In times of “fake news” and “alternative facts” it is particularly important to understand where differing interpretations of information and texts are coming from. In this activity, we will deal with the importance of context to find out more about what people associate with the use of certain words. Also, we will show how studying large amounts of language material can lead to important insights into how the readers’ opinion is being influenced.

You can find additional information <link https: www.wu.ac.at lange-nacht-der-forschung>here.

The WU Blog featured us as well!

#lnfwiko #lnf18 #LangeNachtderForschung #WUVienna #wuwien

Doctor who? Quiz

Over 80 people participated in our “Doctor who” quiz.

Here’s the text once again:

A father and son are in a horrible car crash that kills the dad. The son is rushed to the hospital; just as he's about to go under the knife, the doctor says, "I can't operate - that boy is my son!"


This quiz was conducted by Wapman and Belle (2012). Approximately 197 students and 103 children (7-17 years old) were questioned. The results show that around 15% gave the correct answer.

Answer: The surgeon is the mother.


RESULTS at the Night of Research 2018

The doctor/surgeon (of the son in hospital) is the....

MOTHER 56 68%
(biological) FATHERbecause deceased 'dad' is a) partner of the biological father ('gay dad') (3) b) adoptive father (8) c) … not the biological father (2) 13 16%
CLOSE ACQUAINTANCE of the son (who therefore refers to him as ‘son’) 1 1%
GOD 1 1%
TOTAL 83 100%