In this paper, we examined desensitization to HS using an unobtrusive, psychophysiological measure. In an experimental electrocardiogram study (N = 56), we observed heart rate (HR) deceleration after reading comments that contained HS. This suggested a substantive psychophysiological reaction of participants to hateful comments. However, such HR deceleration was not observed among participants preexposed to HS. People exposed to hateful comments thus appeared to show different HR responses to HS compared to people who were not previously exposed to such comments. Consequently, not only does frequent exposure to HS influence an individual’s beliefs as observed in earlier studies, but it also impacts psychophysiological reactions to derogatory language.

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