"We are people": ingroup humanization as an existential defense

Vaes, Jeroen and Heflick, Nathan A. and Goldenberg, Jamie L. (2010) "We are people": ingroup humanization as an existential defense. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98 (5). pp. 750-760. ISSN 0022-3514

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0017658

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"We are people": ingroup humanization as an existential defense

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Abstract

Prior research has shown the importance of humanness in shaping one’s social identity, but no research
has examined why this is the case. The present article reveals that humanizing the ingroup serves a terror
management function. In 3 studies, Italian (Studies 1 and 2) and American (Study 3) participants
humanized their own group more when their mortality was salient. In Study 3, humanizing the ingroup
also functioned to reduce the accessibility of death thoughts. Together, these studies provide clear support
for terror management theory as an explanatory framework for ingroup humanization.

Keywords:mortality salience, infrahumanization, outgroups
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C880 Social Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:18887
Deposited On:30 Sep 2015 14:44

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