Attributing and denying humanness to others

Nick Haslam, Stephen Loughnan, Yoshihisa Kashima, Paul Bain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

130 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We review a programme of research on the attribution of humanness to people, and the ways in which lesser humanness is attributed to some compared to others. We first present evidence that humanness has two distinct senses, one representing properties that are unique to our species, and the other—human nature—those properties that are essential or fundamental to the human category. An integrative model of dehumanisation is then laid out, in which distinct forms of dehumanisation correspond to the denial of the two senses of humanness, and the likening of people to particular kinds of nonhuman entities (animals and machines). Studies demonstrating that human nature attributes are ascribed more to the self than to others are reviewed, along with evidence of the phenomenon's cognitive and motivational basis. Research also indicates that both kinds of humanness are commonly denied to social groups, both explicitly and implicitly, and that they may cast a new light on the study of stereotype content. Our approach to the study of dehumanisation complements the tradition of research on infrahumanisation, and indicates new directions for exploring the importance of humanness as a dimension of social perception.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-85
Number of pages31
JournalEuropean Review of Social Psychology
Volume19
Issue number1
Early online date2 Jun 2008
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Keywords

  • Dehumanisation
  • Essentialism
  • Human nature
  • Infrahumanisation
  • Stereotypes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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