Departmental Papers (ASC)

Document Type

Technical Report

Date of this Version

7-2017

Publication Source

PLoS ONE

Volume

12

Issue

7

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0181422

Abstract

Historically, dehumanization has enabled members of advantaged groups to ‘morally disengage’ from disadvantaged group suffering, thereby facilitating acts of intergroup aggression such as colonization, slavery and genocide. But is blatant dehumanization exclusive to those at the top ‘looking down’, or might disadvantaged groups similarly dehumanize those who dominate them? We examined this question in the context of intergroup warfare in which the disadvantaged group shoulders a disproportionate share of casualties and may be especially likely to question the humanity of the advantaged group. Specifically, we assessed blatant dehumanization in the context of stark asymmetric conflict between Israelis (Study 1; N = 521) and Palestinians (Study 2; N = 354) during the 2014 Gaza war. We observed that (a) community samples of Israelis and Palestinians expressed extreme (and comparable) levels of blatant dehumanization, (b) blatant dehumanization was uniquely associated with outcomes related to outgroup hostility for both groups, even after accounting for political ideologies known to strongly predict outgroup aggression, and (c) the strength of association between blatant dehumanization and outcomes was similar across both groups. This study illuminates the striking potency and symmetry of blatant dehumanization among those on both sides of an active asymmetric conflict.

Copyright/Permission Statement

© 2017 Bruneau, Kteily. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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Date Posted: 15 June 2018

This document has been peer reviewed.