Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Kristin Lane

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Dehumanization—a process by which certain individuals and/or social groups are denied complete human status—has been researched extensively in psychology. Previous research on dehumanization has identified several social groups such as the poor (Haslam & Loughnan, 2014), immigrants, refugees (Esses, Medianu, & Lawson, 2013), women (Rudman & Mescher, 2012) and Black people (Goff, Eberhardt, Williams, & Jackson, 2008). Through frameworks such as the Infrahumanization theory (Leyens et al., 2003) and the dual model for dehumanization (Haslam, 2006), it has been found that out-groups may be implicitly dehumanized. The social group of interest to the present study is Black individuals. This groups tends to be denied “uniquely human,” or secondary emotions, which subsequently qualifies them as animals; in their case specifically as apes. This specific phenomenon is known as “animalistic” dehumanization (Haslam, 2006). Furthermore, evidence suggests that the media may work as a mechanism through which dehumanization of Black people, as apes, is spread (Goff et al., 2008; Santa Ana, 2002). The present empirical study assessed the effects of implicitly dehumanizing towards Black people present in the media in a manner that, to my knowledge, has yet to be tested in the literature. Participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. They were either exposed to or not exposed to implicitly dehumanizing words towards Black individuals, and shown either a Black, or White assailant, followed by a dehumanization IAT and an explicit measures questionnaire. Results suggests that overall, people tend to associate Black individuals with apes, and that Black people, at least in this study, tend to so more than White people.

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