Blatant Dehumanization is Not Influenced by Dual Identity Labels: Evidence from the Canadian Context

  •  Carl Michael Galang    
  •  Michael Ku    
  •  Sukhvinder S. Obhi    


Blatant dehumanization has been shown to be prevalent in modern society. However, little work has explored the possible ways in which blatant dehumanization may be attenuated. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by exploring if activating a dual identity attenuates (or even erases) blatant dehumanization. To investigate these issues, Canadian participants completed the “Ascent of Man” scale, rating various groups in terms of their perceived evolutionary qualities. Half of our participants saw labels with the qualifier “-Canadians” attached, while the other half saw no such qualifier. Results showed that, regardless of whether the “-Canadians” label was provided, participants rated Filipinos, Christians, Arabs, Muslims, and Indigenous groups as significantly lower than Whites on the evolution scale. As such, provision of the additional group label “-Canadians” did not influence the manifestation of blatant dehumanization. We also found that ratings on the evolution scale significantly correlated with both Social Dominance Orientation and Empathic Concern levels, such that stronger adherence to current power structures and social hierarchies showed stronger blatant dehumanization, while those with a high pre-disposition for altruistic behaviours and emotions showed weaker blatant dehumanization. We discuss our results in the light of other research on blatant dehumanization and intergroup processes.

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