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Humanizing the self: Moderators of the attribution of lesser humanness to others

Haslam, N. and Bain, P. (2007) Humanizing the self: Moderators of the attribution of lesser humanness to others. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33 (1). pp. 57-68.

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Three studies investigated moderators of the tendency to attribute greater humanness to the self than to others, an interpersonal counterpart of outgroup infra-humanization. Study 1 demonstrated that this self-humanizing effect is reduced when the other is the focus of comparison. Study 2 showed that the effect is reduced when the other is individuated. Study 3 indicated that empathy does not moderate self-humanizing: Self-humanizing failed to correlate negatively with dispositional empathy or perspective-taking. Study 3 also indicated that abstract construal moderates the self-humanizing effect using a temporal comparison. Participants rated their future self, but not their past self, as less human than their present self. Studies 1 and 3 also showed that self-humanizing is greater for undesirable traits: People may view their failings as "only human." All findings were distinct from those attributable to self-enhancement. Self-humanizing may reflect a combination of egocentrism, focalism, abstract representation of others, and motivated processes.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Psychology
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Copyright: © 2007 by the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc.
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