More human than you: Attributing humanness to self and others

Nick Haslam, Paul Bain, Lauren Douge, Max Lee, Brock Bastian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

239 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

People typically evaluate their in-groups more favorably than out-groups and themselves more favorably than others. Research on infrahumanization also suggests a preferential attribution of the "human essence" to in-groups, independent of in-group favoritism. The authors propose a corresponding phenomenon in interpersonal comparisons: People attribute greater humanness to themselves than to others, independent of self-enhancement. Study 1 and a pilot study demonstrated 2 distinct understandings of humanness - traits representing human nature and those that are uniquely human - and showed that only the former traits are understood as inhering essences. In Study 2, participants rated themselves higher than their peers on human nature traits but not on uniquely human traits, independent of self-enhancement. Study 3 replicated this "self-humanization" effect and indicated that it is partially mediated by attribution of greater depth to self versus others. Study 4 replicated the effect experimentally. Thus, people perceive themselves to be more essentially human than others.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-950
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume89
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2005

Keywords

  • Essentialism
  • Human nature
  • Infrahumanization
  • Self-enhancement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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