Jeroen Vaes

University of Padova, Padua, Veneto, Italy

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Publications (36)54.52 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The study of humanness as a dimension of social judgment has received extensive attention over the past decade. While the common reported finding is that people attribute more human characteristics to their ingroup than to the outgroup, similar tendencies are expected to be tempered for minority groups when judging the host society. In Study 1, carried out with Gypsy minority members, we tested the hypothesis that those group members who adopt an assimilative strategy identifying more with the host compared to the heritage culture will display the lowest levels of dehumanisation. In Study 2 and 3, conducted with immigrants in Italy and in Portugal respectively, the hypothesis was extended from an identification conceptualization to an acculturation one. Despite significant variability in intergroup settings and measures, results confirmed our hypothesis that immigrants who choose to assimilate with the host culture dehumanize the outgroup less compared to those who adopt any of the other acculturation strategies. Implications for the ethnocentric nature of dehumanisation biases and for intergroup relations in general are discussed.
    European Journal of Social Psychology 01/2015; · 1.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: By taking advantage of the Italian protest in 2009 in reaction to the behaviour of then Prime Minister Berlusconi, in this research, we investigated the role of sexist beliefs (i.e., hostile sexism, complementary gender differentiation, protective paternalism, and heterosexual intimacy) and group-based emotional reactions (i.e., anger, humiliation, and sadness) to women's and men's action mobilization against public forms of sexism. The findings of this study suggest that women and men engaged in this protest for different reasons. Women mobilized to express their anger at Berlusconi's sexist behaviour, an emotion related to the condemnation of hostile sexist views and benevolent sexist beliefs about heterosexual intimacy. In contrast, the strength of men's participation in the protest was affected by humiliation, an emotion related to the condemnation of hostile sexist beliefs and support for complementary gender differentiation. This emotional path suggests that men likely protested to restore their reputations. These findings underline the role of sexist beliefs and group-based emotions in transforming the condemnation of a sexist event into action mobilization against sexism for both women and men.
    British Journal of Social Psychology 01/2013; · 1.76 Impact Factor
  • Jeroen Vaes, Steve Loughnan, Elisa Puvia
    In: Paul G. Bain; Jeroen Vaes; Jacques Philippe Leyens , (Eds). Humanness and Dehumanization. Psychology Press/Taylor Francis Group, ISBN: 978-1-84872-610-9. 01/2013;
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    Elisa Puvia, Jeroen Vaes
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    ABSTRACT: When sexually objectified, women are reduced to their bodies or sexual body parts and become likely targets of dehumanization. Not only men, but also women engage in this process. In the present research, we tested the link between women's appearance related self-views and their tendency to dehumanize sexually objectified female targets. Specifically, we test two mediational models and predict that (1) women's motivation to look attractive to men and (2) their tendency to internalize the sociocultural beauty stand-ards are linked with the dehumanization of sexually objec-tified female targets, and their level of self-objectification mediates both relations. To test these hypotheses, a sample of 55 heterosexual undergraduate female students from Northern Italy volunteered. Participants' motivation to look attractive to men, their level of internalization of the sociocultural beauty standards, and their tendency to self-objectify was measured. Results confirmed that only sexually objectified female targets were significantly dehumanized, while their non-objectified counterparts were not. Moreover, both participants' motivation to look attractive to men and their tendency to internalize the sociocultural beauty standards were positively linked with the dehumanization of sexually objectified female targets. As expected, these relations were mediated by participants' level of self-objectification. These results show that higher levels of self-objectification among those women who are motivated either to look attractive to men or to internalize the sociocultural beauty standards are linked with their tendency to dehumanize sexually objectified female targets.
    Sex Roles 12/2012; · 1.47 Impact Factor
  • Jeroen Vaes, Martina Muratore
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    ABSTRACT: Health care workers are often required to consider the emotions of their patients making their work susceptible for burnout. Extending recent developments in work on dehumanization, the present study tested whether or not considering a patient's suffering in terms of uniquely human compared to more basic emotions, would be linked with burnout especially for those health care workers that frequently encounter emotional demands through their contact with suffering patients. Professional health care workers were presented with the fictitious case of a terminal patient and asked to infer her emotional state in terms of uniquely human or basic, primary emotions. As expected, humanizing a patient's suffering positively predicted symptoms of burnout especially for those participants that had higher levels of direct contact with patients.
    British Journal of Social Psychology 09/2012; · 1.76 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Self-stereotyping is a process by which people belonging to a stigmatized social group tend to describe themselves more with stereotypical traits as compared with traits irrelevant to the ingroup stereotype. The present work analyzes why especially members of low-status groups are more inclined to self-stereotype compared to members of high-status groups. We tested the hypothesis that belonging to a low-, rather than a high-status group, makes low-status members feel more threatened and motivates them to protect their self-perception by increasing their similarity with the ingroup. Specifically, we investigated the effects of an experimental manipulation that was conceived to either threaten or protect the natural group membership of participants from either a low- or a high-status group on the level of self-stereotyping. The findings supported the idea that only low-status group members protected themselves when their group identity was threatened through increased self-stereotyping.
    The Journal of Social Psychology 01/2012; 152(1):92-111. · 0.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mostly invigorated by infrahumanisation theory, our knowledge on processes of dehumanisation in intergroup relations has grown considerably in the last decade. Building on these earlier endeavours, the present chapter reviews some recent empirical extensions that highlight the importance of differentiating between ingroup humanisation and outgroup dehumanisation because they are often moderated by specific variables. The role of these separate processes is discussed as a function of the main structural elements that define intergroup behaviour; that is, the defining boundaries of the groups, the relation between the groups at hand, and the ideologies of its members. Finally, the role of the different senses of humanness is discussed, suggesting that the folk conception of humanness differs between cultures.
    European Review of Social Psychology. 01/2012; 23(1):64-106.
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    ABSTRACT: The present research explores cultural understandings of what it means to be human. We used open-ended responses to examine whether the most culturally salient aspects of humanness are captured by two theoretical dimensions: human uniqueness (HU) and human nature (HN). Australians, Italians, and Chinese (N = 315) showed differences in the characteristics considered human and in the emphasis placed on HU and HN. These findings contribute to developing cross-cultural folk psychological models of humanness.
    Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 01/2012; 43(1):53-58. · 1.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The malleability of the infrahumanization bias was tested varying the physical context in which the ingroup and the outgroup target were assessed. Using a sequential priming paradigm, Study 1 replicated the infrahumanization bias in a neutral context. Study 2 tested the hypothesis that there are contextual variations in infrahumanization. Specifically, Black targets were infrahumanized in a context familiar to White participants, and not in an unfamiliar context. Study 3 revealed that participants’ threat perceptions were reduced when ingroup targets appeared in familiar context, compared to Black targets. Theoretical implications for the infrahumanization bias are discussed.
    Basic and Applied Social Psychology 01/2012; 34(5):456-466. · 1.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: People's self-perception biases often lead them to see themselves as better than the average person (a phenomenon known as self-enhancement). This bias varies across cultures, and variations are typically explained using cultural variables, such as individualism versus collectivism. We propose that socioeconomic differences among societies--specifically, relative levels of economic inequality--play an important but unrecognized role in how people evaluate themselves. Evidence for self-enhancement was found in 15 diverse nations, but the magnitude of the bias varied. Greater self-enhancement was found in societies with more income inequality, and income inequality predicted cross-cultural differences in self-enhancement better than did individualism/collectivism. These results indicate that macrosocial differences in the distribution of economic goods are linked to microsocial processes of perceiving the self.
    Psychological Science 09/2011; 22(10):1254-8. · 4.43 Impact Factor
  • Jeroen Vaes, Paola Paladino, Elisa Puvia
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    ABSTRACT: Focusing on the dehumanization of sexually objectified targets, study 1 tested the extent to which objectified and non-objectified male and female publicity photos were associated with human compared to animal concepts. Results confirmed the hypothesis that, among all targets, only objectified women were associated with less human concepts. This pattern of results emerged for both male and female participants but likely for different reasons. Study 2 directly looked at female and male participants' affinity with sexually objectified women. Results indicated that the more women distanced themselves from sexually objectified women the more they dehumanized them, whereas men's sexual attraction moderated their tendency to dehumanize female targets. In study 3, this latter motivation was operationalized as the activation of a sex goal and showed to trigger man's but not woman's dehumanization of female targets. Overall, the present set of studies show that only sexually objectified women are dehumanized by both men and women but for different reasons. Whereas sexual attraction shifts a men's focus of a female target away from her personality onto her body triggering a dehumanization process, women are more inclined to dehumanize their sexually objectified counterparts the more they distance themselves from these sexualized representations of their gender category. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    European Journal of Social Psychology 06/2011; 41(6):774 - 785. · 1.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies on infra-humanization have confirmed a greater attribu-tion of secondary emotions to the ingroup than to outgroups, independ-ently of the valence of these emotions. However, the variables leading to the choice of which outgroups are likely to be infra-humanized have re-ceived limited attention in the literature. This study is concerned with de-termining some of the relevant variables within the intergroup domain that may elicit this type of prejudice. The roles of similarity, intergroup friendship, knowledge of the outgroup, and status are analyzed with re-spect to the humanization of outgroups throughout the world. Results verify that not all outgroups are equally humanized. A second finding re-veals that intergroup similarity, friendship, and knowledge of the out-groups increase the attribution of secondary emotions towards them, while status, as expected, is not related with outgroup humanization.
    Anales de Psicología 01/2011; 27(3):679-687. · 0.55 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present work directly tests the persuasive potential of emotions in political slogans. Previous research that distinguished emotions on the human dimension found that individuals conform differently to the opinion of members of the in-group or the out-group when these targets expressed themselves in terms of uniquely human emotions (Vaes, Paladino, Castelli, Leyens, & Giovanazzi, 2003). In line with these findings, the present experiment tested the hypothesis that political slogans that express a uniquely human emotion and that are associated with the campaign of a political candidate who has the same political affiliation as participants (i.e., in-group) will induce more conformity reactions than a candidate of the opposing coalition (i.e., out-group) who presents similar kinds of slogans. Results confirmed this hypothesis on a subtle conformity measure and are discussed as a consequence of an infrahumanization process. Finally, possible applications of the presented findings and new avenues for future research are proposed.
    The Journal of Social Psychology 01/2011; 151(2):162-79. · 0.64 Impact Factor
  • Anales de Psicologia 01/2011; 27(3):679-687.
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    ABSTRACT: The present work looks at the self-stereotyping process and reveals its underlying cognitive structure. When this process occurs, it is necessarily the result of an overlap between the representation of the ingroup and that of the self. Two studies measured this overlap and showed that it was higher on stereotype-relevant than on stereotype-irrelevant traits, it involved both positive and negative stereotypical traits, and it implied a deduction-to-the-self process of ingroup stereotypical dimensions. Moreover, the status of one's social group was found to be a key variable in this process, showing that self-stereotyping is limited to low-status group members. Indeed, results of Study 2 showed that the overlap between the self and the ingroup for high-status group members was the result of an induction-to-the-ingroup process of personal characteristics. Implications for research on people's self-construal are discussed.
    Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 07/2010; 36(7):911-22. · 2.22 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Philosophers have argued that when people are objectified they are treated as if they lack the mental states and moral status associated with personhood. These aspects of objectification have been neglected by psychologists. This research investigates the role of depersonalization in objectification. In Study 1, objectified women were attributed less mind and were accorded lesser moral status than non-objectified women. In Study 2, we replicated this effect with male and female targets and extended it to include perceptions of competence and pain attribution. Further, we explored whether target and perceiver gender qualify depersonalization. Overall, this research indicates that when people are objectified they are denied personhood. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    European Journal of Social Psychology 05/2010; 40(5):709 - 717. · 1.78 Impact Factor
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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.
    Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 05/2010; 98(5):750-60. · 5.08 Impact Factor
  • Jeroen Vaes, Maria Paola Paladino
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    ABSTRACT: The uniquely human content of stereotypes was measured in nine different inter-group comparisons that varied in terms of competence and warmth. Results indicated that the infrahumanization bias understood as people s tendency to see in-group relative to out-group stereotypes as more human occurred in almost all inter-group situations. Secondly, mainly out-groups that lack both warmth and competence were clearly infrahumanized as a result of a denial of out-group humanity. Finally, results suggested that among the different out-groups it was especially those high in competence, low in warmth that were seen as most uniquely human. As such, the current work extends previous research on infrahumanization to stereotypes, shows that group typology moderates the infrahumanization bias and demonstrates the affinity between the uniquely human and the competence dimension.
    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 01/2010; 13(1):23-39. · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This article offers terror management theory (TMT) as a conceptual lens through which the process of infrahumanization can be viewed. TMT suggests that people are threatened by the awareness of their mortal, animal nature, and that by emphasizing their symbolic, cultural—and hence, uniquely human—existence, they can help quell this threat. The article reviews empirical evidence demonstrating that reminders of mortality increase efforts to see the self and in-groups as more uniquely human. In addition, it is posited that, as an ironic consequence of defensive efforts to rid the self and certain others of any connection to animal nature, people are sometimes stripped of their human nature. The study presents evidence that the objectification, and self-objectification, of women can be viewed from this perspective and concludes that both emphasizing people’s uniquely human qualities and viewing them as objectified symbols can be understood as serving a terror management function.
    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 01/2009; 12:1-14. · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two experiments examine whether exposure to generic violence can display infrahumanization towards out-groups. In Study 1, participants had to solve a lexical decision task after viewing animal or human violent scenes. In Study 2, participants were exposed to either human violent or human suffering pictures before doing a lexical decision task. In both studies, the infrahumanization bias appeared after viewing the human violent pictures but not in the other experimental conditions. These two experiments support the idea of contextual dependency of infrahumanization, and suggest that violence can prime an infrahuman perception of the out-group. Theoretical implications for infrahumanization and potential underlying mechanisms are discussed. Dehumanization and violence are two related phenomena. Empirical evidence supports the idea that dehumanization increases aggres-sive behaviors towards out-groups, and triggers moral exclusion. This process facilitates the feelings of having no obligation to apply moral human standards to out-groups (Bar-Tal, 1990; Kelman, 1973; Opotow, 1990). Research has also shown that perceiving other persons as humans activates empathic reactions that would make it diffi cult to mistreat them (Bandura, 1990). However, if a person dehumanizes the others, self-sanctions disappear, and he/she can mistreat them without suffering from guilt feelings.
    Group Processes & Intergroup Relations 01/2009; 12:699-714. · 1.24 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

510 Citations
54.52 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2013
    • University of Padova
      • Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
  • 2008–2011
    • Università degli Studi di Trento
      • Department of Psychology and Cognitive Science
      Trient, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
  • 2001–2003
    • Catholic University of Louvain
      Walloon Region, Belgium
  • 2002
    • University of Leuven
      Louvain, Flanders, Belgium