What does it mean to be human? Why do people dehumanize others (and sometimes themselves)? These questions have only recently begun to be investigated in earnest within psychology. This volume presents the latest thinking about these and related questions from research leaders in the field of humanness and dehumanization in social psychology and related disciplines. Contributions provide new insights into the history of dehumanization, its different types, and new theories are proposed for when and why dehumanization occurs. While people’s views about what humanness is, and who has it, have long been known as important in understanding ethnic conflict, contributors demonstrate its relevance in other domains, including medical practice, policing, gender relations, and our relationship with the natural environment. Cultural differences and similarities in beliefs about humanness are explored, along with strategies to overcome dehumanization.

In highlighting emerging ideas and theoretical perspectives, describing current theoretical issues and controversies and ways to resolve them, and in extending research to new areas, this volume will influence research on humanness and dehumanization for many years.

part 1|116 pages

Historical and Theoretical Insights Into Dehumanization

chapter 3|15 pages

What Is Dehumanization?

chapter 5|18 pages

Dehumanized Perception

Psychological and Neural Mechanisms Underlying Everyday Dehumanization

chapter 7|16 pages


A Threat and Solution to Terror Management

part 2|98 pages

Dehumanization–Specific Targets and Fields of Occurrence

chapter 9|20 pages

Cops and Criminals

The Interplay of Mechanistic and Animalistic Dehumanization in the Criminal Justice System

chapter 11|19 pages

The Inhuman Body

When Sexual Objectification Becomes Dehumanizing

part 3|95 pages

Exploring and Extending Ideas About Humanity

chapter 14|20 pages

Dehumanization as a Denial of Human Potentials

The Naïve Theory of Humanity Perspective

chapter 15|18 pages

More Human

Individuation in the 21st Century

part 4|15 pages


chapter 17|13 pages

Understanding Humanness and Dehumanization

Emerging Themes and Directions