Emotional prejudice can lead to infra-humanisation

Stephanie Demoulin, Ramon Rodriguez Torres, Armando Rodriguez Perez, Jeroen Vaes, Maria Paola Paladino, Ruth Gaunt, Brezo Cortes Pozo, Jacques Philippe Leyens

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82 Scopus citations


: Groups are social constructions with differences. People spontaneously attempt to explain differences between groups. Stereotypes often play this explanatory role. Specifically, group members tend to attribute different essences to social categories. Given widespread ethnocentrism, it is not surprising that individuals reserve “the human essence” for their ingroup, while other groups are attributed a lesser humanity. This phenomenon is called infra‐humanisation and happens outside people's awareness. Secondary emotions (e.g., love, hope, contempt, resentment) are considered uniquely human emotions in contrast to primary emotions (e.g., joy, surprise, fear, anger) that are shared with animals. The research programme summarised in this chapter demonstrates through various paradigms that members of groups not only attribute more secondary emotions to their ingroup than to outgroups, but are also reluctant to associate these emotions with outgroups. Moreover, people behave less cooperatively with an outgroup member who expresses himself with secondary emotions than with an ingroup member who uses the same terms. Interestingly, infra‐humanisation occurs for both high‐ and low‐status groups, even in the absence of conflict between groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)259-296
Number of pages38
JournalEuropean Review of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004

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© 2004, Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


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