Identities and Infrahumanization

Reaserch Team:

Maria Gouveia Pereira (Project Leader)
Mariana Miranda


Project's Summary:

Research on intergroup relations has recently extended its focus from ingroup favouritism phenomenon to include outgroup derogation processes. This meant an shift from an evaluative differentiation paradigm (Tajfel & Turner, 1979) to intergroup differentiation based on superordinate level of human identity (Turner, 1987): 1) uniquely human features (Infrahumanization, Leyens et al, 2000); 2) human nature and uniquely human (Dehumanisation, Haslam, 2006); and 3) culture and nature traits (Ontologization, Moscovici & Perez, 2007).

Differential attribution of uniquely human features has been describe the as independent from group status (Leyens et al., 2001), as dominated groups would highlight secondary emotions in the uniquely human representation, because they aren´t linked to the structure of societies. Given that we expect different representations of the uniquely human within different groups (Chulvi & Perez, 2003), it is important to study the limits of this social creativity process.

Within the Infrahumanization and Dehumanization frameworks, studies carried out have shown that these processes occur only at an intergroup level (Cortes et al., 2005). We argue that interpersonal differentiation might occur whenever the features are relevant to the specific social context, and therefore stereotypically link to the groups.


Project’s aims:

Our first goal is to identify which dimensions compose the representation of what is uniquely human in groups with different status in Portuguese society: 1) the white group; 2) the gipsy group; and 3) the black group. We will therefore include two dominated groups in the analysis, which differ in the way they are or are not protected by an anti-racist norm (Pettigrew & Merteens, 1995; Correia et al., 2005). This is especially important given the explicit nature of this study, which will include an explicit intergroup and intragroup differentiation of explicitly uniquely human features. This second part will make possible to look in to the different dimensions in which a social creativity strategy is possible.

We are interested in the relationship between Infrahumanization and stereotyping. An association between this two phenomenon has already been shown (Vaes and Paladino, in press), using stereotype content model (Fiske et al., 2002). We argue that even though attributions of uniquely human features are made according to group stereotypes, afterwards people tend to assign greater humanity to features which have been attributed to the ingroup, and lesser to the ones associated with outgroup stereotype.

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