Dehumanized Perception: Psychological and Neural Mechanisms Underlying Everyday Dehumanization
Every day we come into contact with other people, while walking down the street, at our place of work, or while having dinner at a restaurant. What distinguishes them from objects such as cars, buildings, or tables is that we know people have a mind or possess mental states such as thoughts and feelings. Because they are agents that have control over their own actions, we spontaneously infer the mental states of others in order to predict their actions toward us (Fiske & Taylor, 1991, 2008). Without knowing anything about a person, we may wonder what they are thinking or try to determine whether the person walking toward us on the sidewalk is a friend or foe.