Bruneau, Emile

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 18
  • Publication
    They See Us as Less Than Human: Metadehumanization Predicts Intergroup Conflict via Reciprocal Dehumanization
    (2016-03-01) Kteily, Nour; Hodson, Gordon; Bruneau, Emile
    Although the act of dehumanizing an outgroup is a pervasive and potent intergroup process that drives discrimination and conflict, no formal research has examined the consequences of being dehumanized by an outgroup—that is, “metadehumanization.” Across 10 studies (N = 3,440) involving several real-world conflicts spanning 3 continents, we provide the first empirical evidence that metadehumanization (a) plays a central role in outgroup aggression that is (b) mediated by outgroup dehumanization, and (c) distinct from metaprejudice. Studies 1a and 1b demonstrate experimentally that Americans who learn that Arabs (Study 1a) or Muslims (Study 1b) blatantly dehumanize Americans are more likely to dehumanize that outgroup in return; by contrast, experimentally increasing outgroup dehumanization did not increase metadehumanization (Study 1c). Using correlational data, Study 2 documents indirect effects of metadehumanization on Americans’ support for aggressive policies toward Arabs (e.g., torture) via Arab dehumanization. In the context of Hungarians and ethnic minority Roma, Study 3 shows that the pathway for Hungarians from metadehumanization to aggression through outgroup dehumanization holds controlling for outgroup prejudice. Study 4 examines Israelis’ metaperceptions with respect to Palestinians, showing that: (a) feeling dehumanized (i.e., metadehumanization) is distinct from feeling disliked (i.e., metaprejudice), and (b) metadehumanization uniquely influences aggression through outgroup dehumanization, controlling for metaprejudice. Studies 5a and 5b explore Americans’ metaperceptions regarding ISIS and Iran. We document a dehumanization-specific pathway from metadehumanization to aggressive attitudes and behavior that is distinct from the path from metaprejudice through prejudice to aggression. In Study 6, American participants learning that Muslims humanize Americans (i.e., metahumanization) humanize Muslims in turn. Finally, Study 7 experimentally contrasts metadehumanization and metahumanization primes, and shows that resulting differences in outgroup dehumanization are mediated by (a) perceived identity threat, and (b) a general desire to reciprocate the outgroup’s perceptions of the ingroup. In summary, our research outlines how and why metadehumanization contributes to cycles of ongoing violence and animosity, providing direction for future research and policy.
  • Publication
    The Ascent of Man: Theoretical and Empirical Evidence for Blatant Dehumanization
    (2015-11-01) Kteily, Nour; Bruneau, Emile; Waytz, Adam; Cotterill, Sarah
    Dehumanization is a central concept in the study of intergroup relations. Yet although theoretical and methodological advances in subtle, “everyday” dehumanization have progressed rapidly, blatant dehumanization remains understudied. The present research attempts to refocus theoretical and empirical attention on blatant dehumanization, examining when and why it provides explanatory power beyond subtle dehumanization. To accomplish this, we introduce and validate a blatant measure of dehumanization based on the popular depiction of evolutionary progress in the “Ascent of Man.” We compare blatant dehumanization to established conceptualizations of subtle and implicit dehumanization, including infrahumanization, perceptions of human nature and human uniqueness, and implicit associations between ingroup–outgroup and human–animal concepts. Across 7 studies conducted in 3 countries, we demonstrate that blatant dehumanization is (a) more strongly associated with individual differences in support for hierarchy than subtle or implicit dehumanization, (b) uniquely predictive of numerous consequential attitudes and behaviors toward multiple outgroup targets, (c) predictive above prejudice, and (d) reliable over time. Finally, we show that blatant—but not subtle—dehumanization spikes immediately after incidents of real intergroup violence and strongly predicts support for aggressive actions like torture and retaliatory violence (after the Boston Marathon bombings and Woolwich attacks in England). This research extends theory on the role of dehumanization in intergroup relations and intergroup conflict and provides an intuitive, validated empirical tool to reliably measure blatant dehumanization.
  • Publication
    Parochial Empathy Predicts Reduced Altruism and the Endorsement of Passive Harm
    (2017-11-01) Bruneau, Emile; Cikara, Mina; Saxe, Rebecca
    Empathic failures are common in hostile intergroup contexts; repairing empathy is therefore a major focus of peacebuilding efforts. However, it is unclear which aspect of empathy is most relevant to intergroup conflict. Although trait empathic concern predicts prosociality in interpersonal settings, we hypothesized that the best predictor of meaningful intergroup attitudes and behaviors might not be the general capacity for empathy (i.e., trait empathy), but the difference in empathy felt for the in-group versus the out-group, or “parochial empathy.” Specifically, we predicted that out-group empathy would inhibit intergroup harm and promote intergroup helping, whereas in-group empathy would have the opposite effect. In three intergroup contexts—Americans regarding Arabs, Hungarians regarding refugees, Greeks regarding Germans—we found support for this hypothesis. In all samples, in-group and out-group empathy had independent, significant, and opposite effects on intergroup outcomes, controlling for trait empathic concern.
  • Publication
    The Dynamics of Recycled Acetylcholine Receptors at the Neuromuscular Junction in vivo
    (2006-01-01) Bruneau, Emile; Akaaboune, Mohammed
    At the peripheral neuromuscular junction (NMJ), a significant number of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (AChRs) recycle back into the postsynaptic membrane after internalization to intermingle with not-yet-internalized `pre-existing' AChRs. However, the way in which these receptor pools are maintained and regulated at the NMJ in living animals remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that recycled receptors in functional synapses are removed approximately four times faster than pre-existing receptors, and that most removed recycled receptors are replaced by new recycled ones. In denervated NMJs, the recycling of AChRs is significantly depressed and their removal rate increased, whereas direct muscle stimulation prevents their loss. Furthermore, we show that protein tyrosine phosphatase inhibitors cause the selective accumulation of recycled AChRs in the peri-synaptic membrane without affecting the pre-existing AChR pool. The inhibition of serine/threonine phosphatases, however, has no effect on AChR recycling. These data show that recycled receptors are remarkably dynamic, and suggest a potential role for tyrosine dephosphorylation in the insertion and maintenance of recycled AChRs at the postsynaptic membrane. These findings may provide insights into long-term recycling processes at less accessible synapses in the central nervous system in vivo.
  • Publication
    Dynamics of the Rapsyn Scaffolding Protein at the Neuromuscular Junction of Live Mice
    (2010-01-01) Bruneau, Emile; Akaaboune, Mohammed
    The efficacy of synaptic transmission depends on the maintenance of a high density of neurotransmitter receptors and their associated scaffold proteins in the postsynaptic membrane. While the dynamics of receptors has been extensively studied, the dynamics of the intracellular scaffold proteins that make up the postsynaptic density are largely unknown in vivo. Here, we focused on the dynamics of rapsyn, a protein required for the clustering and maintenance of acetylcholine receptor (AChR) density at postsynaptic sites. Using time-lapse imaging, we demonstrated that rapsyn is remarkably dynamic compared to AChRs at functional synapses, turning over 4–6 times more rapidly than AChRs. In addition we found that the rapid turnover of rapsyn is insensitive to alterations in synaptic activity, whereas AChR turnover is profoundly affected, illustrating that rapsyn and receptor dynamics are controlled by distinct mechanisms. These data indicate that individual postsynaptic components are in permanent exchange despite the overall stability of synaptic structure, which may play a role in synaptic plasticity.
  • Publication
    The Enemy as Animal: Symmetric Dehumanization during Asymmetric Warfare
    (2017-07-01) Bruneau, Emile; Kteily, Nour
    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.
  • Publication
    Backlash: The Politics and Real-World Consequences of Minority Group Dehumanization
    (2017-01-01) Kteily, Nour; Bruneau, Emile
    Research suggests that members of advantaged groups who feel dehumanized by other groups respond aggressively. But little is known about how meta-dehumanization affects disadvantaged minority group members, historically the primary targets of dehumanization. We examine this important question in the context of the 2016 U.S. Republican Primaries, which have witnessed the widespread derogation and dehumanization of Mexican immigrants and Muslims. Two initial studies document that Americans blatantly dehumanize Mexican immigrants and Muslims; this dehumanization uniquely predicts support for aggressive policies proposed by Republican nominees, and dehumanization is highly associated with supporting Republican candidates (especially Donald Trump). Two further studies show that, in this climate, Latinos and Muslims in the United States feel heavily dehumanized, which predicts hostile responses including support for violent versus non-violent collective action and unwillingness to assist counterterrorism efforts. Our results extend theorizing on dehumanization, and suggest that it may have cyclical and self-fulfilling consequences.
  • Publication
    The Unique Effects of Blatant Dehumanization on Attitudes and Behavior towards Muslim Refugees during the European 'Refugee Crisis' Across Four Countries
    (2017-11-01) Bruneau, Emile; Kteily, Nour; Laustsen, Lasse
    Blatant dehumanization has recently been demonstrated to predict negative outgroup attitudes and behaviors. Here, we examined blatant dehumanization of Muslim refugees during the ‘Refugee Crisis’ among large samples in four European countries: the Czech Republic (N = 1307), Hungary (N = 502), Spain (N = 1049), and Greece (N = 934). Our results suggest that blatant dehumanization of Muslim refugees is (a) prevalent among Europeans, and (b) uniquely associated with anti‐refugee attitudes and behavior, beyond political ideology, prejudice, and—of particular relevance to the refugee crisis—empathy. We also find that blatant dehumanization of Muslim refugees is significantly higher and more strongly associated with intergroup behavior in the Eastern European countries (especially the Czech Republic) than in Spain and Greece. Examining a range of outgroup targets beyond refugees, our results further illustrate that blatant dehumanization is not purely an ethnocentric bias: while individuals across contexts feel warmer towards their group than all others, they rate several high‐status outgroups as equally or more fully ‘evolved and civilized’ than the ingroup. Our research extends theoretical understanding of blatant dehumanization, and suggests that blatant dehumanization plays an important and independent role in the rejection of Muslim refugees throughout Europe.
  • Publication
    The Power of Being Heard: The Benefits of 'Perspective-Giving' in the Context of Intergroup Conflict
    (2012-07-01) Bruneau, Emile; Saxe, Rebecca
    Although hundreds of dialogue programs geared towards conflict resolution are offered every year, there have been few scientific studies of their effectiveness. Across 2 studies we examined the effect of controlled, dyadic interactions on attitudes towards the ‘other’ in members of groups involved in ideological conflict. Study 1 involved Mexican immigrants and White Americans in Arizona, and Study 2 involved Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East. Cross-group dyads interacted via video and text in a brief, structured, face-to-face exchange: one person was assigned to write about the difficulties of life in their society (‘perspective-giving’), and the second person was assigned to accurately summarize the statement of the first person (‘perspective-taking’). Positive changes in attitudes towards the outgroup were greater for Mexican immigrants and Palestinians after perspective-giving and for White Americans and Israelis after perspective-taking. For Palestinians, perspective-giving to an Israeli effectively changed attitudes towards Israelis, while a control condition in which they wrote an essay on the same topic without interacting had no effect on attitudes, illustrating the critical role of being heard. Thus, the effects of dialogue for conflict resolution depend on an interaction between dialogue condition and participants' group membership, which may reflect power asymmetries.
  • Publication
    Darker Demons of Our Nature: The Need to (Re)Focus Attention on Blatant Forms of Dehumanization
    (2017-12-01) Kteily, Nour; Bruneau, Emile
    Although dehumanization research first emerged following the overt and conscious denials of humanity present during war and genocide, modern dehumanization research largely examines more subtle and implicit forms of dehumanization in more everyday settings. We argue for the need to reorient the research agenda toward understanding when and why individuals blatantly dehumanize others. We review recent research in a range of contexts suggesting that blatant dehumanization is surprisingly prevalent and potent, uniquely predicting aggressive intergroup attitudes and behavior beyond subtle forms of dehumanization and outgroup dislike, and promoting vicious cycles of conflict.