Meta-Dehumanization (They Think We Are Animals)

Rhetoric characterizing “others” as less human is powerful and releases negativity toward that group. But how do we react to feeling dehumanized ourselves?

Being Anti-Racist, Not Non-Racist

Some people are content to be non-racist. But is that enough? What about the importance of directly opposing prejudices you observe in others?

Political Polarization on Climate Change

Some call environmentalists “watermelons”: green on the outside, but red (Communist/Socialist) on the inside. Does pushback against environmentalists explain the left-right divide?

Advice for the Animal Rights Movement Part 2

In a previous column I gave some advice, from a psychological point of view, on how animal rights advocates can more effectively communicate their message. Here I follow up with some additional comments.

Ideology Matters (Too Much)

Historically, theorists argued that political ideology is not meaningful in our day-to-day lives. But the psychological record now demonstrates that ideology matters a great deal to our personal and social lives. In fact, some might argue that it now matters too much, influencing our basic perception and decision-making.

Attitudes Toward Asexuals (ATA) Prejudice Scale

In a past post I discussed bias against asexuals (those without enduring sexual attraction directed toward men or women). Here I discuss a newly validated scale that captures prejudice toward asexuals, providing a more nuanced understanding of biases against sexual minorities and the challenges such individuals face.

Oklahoma Fraternity Incident, Just a “Joke?"

Psychologists often study the up-side of humor (well-being, social bonding). But what are the implications of passing off derogatory communications, such as jokes or chants, as harmless and thus not to be judged seriously?

Becoming a Minority Fuels Conservatism

Psychologists are presently very interested in understanding factors that predict political ideology. A recent series of studies asks whether White Americans, when facing the future as a minority group, shift politically to the right.

Are same-sex marriages good for the economy?

With noticeable declines in the numbers of heterosexual marriages, marriages between gay couples can boost the economy among businesses linked to the wedding industry. By similarly tuning self-interests toward economic strategies that cut carbon emissions, can psychology help save the planet?

Can (Violent) Video Games Reduce Prejudice?

It is widely held that violent video games produce negative outcomes (e.g., aggression). This might be true, but can these virtual environments also allow us to play out intergroup situations in ways that could reduce prejudice?

Feeling “Torn” About Homosexuality as Modern Bias

Sometimes prejudices concern open expressions of disliking a group. But sometimes people claim to feel “torn,” “mixed,” or “ambivalent” about a group or their rights. Do such assertions genuinely represent subjectively ambivalent feelings, or might they mask darker attitudes?

Advice for the Animal Rights Movement

In a world where we eat animals, wear animals, and amuse ourselves by watching animals perform tricks for us, advancing animal rights represents a clear minority position. What does psychology teach us about influencing others, particularly when advocating a minority position?

The Meat Paradox: Loving but Exploiting Animals

Following cultural advances in animal rights, psychologists are increasingly asking difficult questions concerning how humans think about animals.

Homophobia Is Alive and (Un)well

Gay rights have progressed remarkably in Western countries over the past 15 years or so. But has progress hit a plateau? And what about homophobia as a global phenomenon?

Are Homophobes Secretly Attracted to Gay People?

Laypeople and theorists have long pondered whether homophobes (those openly expressing anti-gay attitudes) secretly possess attraction toward same-sex partners. In other words, do we “hate” what we secretly crave? A new study uses an implicit sexual-attraction measure to finally test this hypothesis.

Facts? No Thanks, I’ve Got Ideology

Everything these days, from healthcare to climate change to nutrition, seems not only “political” but increasingly polarized in nature. In such debates, why does ideology often take a front seat to basic facts?

Dehumanizing Others Is No “Joke”

An Italian politician recently likened a (Black) Italian government minister to an orangutan. He then passed this off as simply a joke, not a racist comment. Is dehumanization harmful? Can cavalier humour beliefs facilitate expressions of racism, or are jokes simply jokes?

Exploitation Is Exploitation, Period

In the West, we are all too comfortable living lives that come at a terrible cost to the third world, as the factory conditions in Bangladesh remind us. What psychological processes underpin this neglect?

“Don’t Humanize My Demons!”

When we dehumanize others, we see them as relatively less human than ourselves personally (and our ingroup). But we also dehumanize dehumanizers, a process I call “meta-dehumanization”, and resist seeing them in turn as human.

Holidays and Elections: “Getting Stuff”

Our consumer culture has run amok, with our economy depending on us buying increasingly more stuff (regardless of our actual needs). And now we hear claims that Obama won the election because liberals want more stuff. How can psychology inform this conversation?

Stereotypes As Legitimizing Myths

Scientists and lay-people alike argue whether there is a “kernel of truth” in stereotypes. But is accuracy the most important concern when it comes to stereotypes?

Want to See True Horror? Look to Humanity

At this time of year we like to be “benignly” horrified. But let’s not forget the real horrors of humanity, both past and present.

Can Contact With Other Groups Reduce Prejudice?

Is it possible for contact between groups (e.g., interracial contact or friendship) to reduce prejudice? Or does it backfire and worsen intergroup relations?

Prejudice Against “Group X” (Asexuals)

Is there such a thing as prejudice against those with NO sexual interest? You'd be surprised by the findings....

Generalized Prejudice: The Bigotry Bigot-Tree

In the prejudice field we refer to such a tendency as generalized prejudice. Relative to other people, some individuals show a strong dislike of multiple outgroups.

The Human-Animal Divide and Prejudices Against Humans

It has been contemplated that many of our prejudices against human outgroups (i.e., groups to which we do not belong) find their roots or origins in our thinking about the human-animal divide. Could this be true?