chapter  8
12 Pages

Dehumanizing the lowest of the low

Neuroimaging responses to extreme out-groups
ByLasana T. Harris, Susan T. Fiske

The most extreme out-groups, the low–low, receive unabashed disliking and disrespect: Groups stereotyped as neither warm nor competent elicit the worst kind of prejudice—disgust and contempt—based on perceived moral violations and subsequent negative outcomes that these groups allegedly caused themselves. Extreme discrimination reveals the worst kind of prejudice: excluding out-groups from full humanity. Social psychological theory underscores the idea of perceiving some out-groups as less than people. According to the stereotype content model, the low-warmth/low-competence quadrant uniquely captures dehumanizing prejudice. Members of social groups that fall into the competence cluster may not be perceived as fully human, but definitive evidence that these lowest out-groups are categorized as less than human remains elusive. Out-group dehumanization is at least as old as the US Bar-Tal theorized that groups acting outside societal norms would be excluded from other human groups; N. Struch and S. H. Schwartz argued that all out-groups allegedly possess a lesser degree of humanity than the in-group.