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Beastly: What Makes Animal Metaphors Offensive?

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Abstract

Animal metaphors convey a wide range of meanings, from insulting slurs to expressions of love. Two studies examined factors contributing to the offensiveness of these metaphors. Study 1 examined 40 common metaphors, finding that their meanings were diverse but centered on depravity, disagreeableness, and stupidity. Their offensiveness was predicted by the revulsion felt toward the animal and by the dehumanizing view of the target that it implied. Study 2 examined contextual factors in metaphor use, finding that the offensiveness of animal metaphors varies with the tone of their expression and the gender and in-group/out-group status of their targets. These variations influence offensiveness by altering the extent to which the target is ascribed animalistic properties.

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... The animalistic form of dehumanization connotes the object is "lacking refinement, civility, moral sensibility, and higher cognition" (Haslam 2006, p. 252). While meanings can vary, animal metaphors typically convey degradation by suggesting stupidity or signify disgust by implying depravity and disagreeableness (Haslam et al. 2011). Dehumanization also functions through objectification (also called "mechanistic dehumanization"), which involves inanimate comparisons or portrayals where people are associated with an object "lacking emotionality, warmth, cognitive openness, and individual agency … and depth" (Haslam 2006, p. 253). ...
... Throughout history, Black people have been subject to demeaning and objectifying representations, stereotypes, and racial bias (Goff et al. 2008;Lott 1999;Volpato et al. 2010). There is a long history of associating Black people to animals, particularly apes, that has served to rationalize their subjugation (Johada 1999;Lott 1999, as cited in Goff et al. 2008) as this association signifies degradation (Haslam et al. 2011). In the contemporary context, animalistic associations are often implicit, but significant in shaping white views and treatment of Black people (Goff et al. 2008(Goff et al. , 2014Mekawi et al. 2016). ...
... Animal characterizations also carry with them the implication of being primitive and of underdeveloped intelligence and rationality (Haslam et al. 2011). As such, the frequent descriptions of Black players' "instinctiveness" both echoed and reinforced animal characterizations. ...
Chapter
College GameDay (CGD) commentary and imagery is one source of socialization that reinforces ideologies that rationalize police violence (and our tolerance thereof). As the most watched college sport broadcast of all time (Volner D, More than 179 million fans watched 100 billion minutes of college football games on ESPN’s TV networks during the 2016 college football season; 15 million unique devices streamed ESPN games. ESPN MediaZone. Retrieved from http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2016/12/179-million-fans-watched-100-billion-minutes-college-football-games-espns-tv-networks-2016-college-football-season-15-million-unique-devices-streamed-espn-games, 2016), CGD primes audiences to make certain associations (Moy P, Tewksbury D, Rinke EM, Agenda-setting, priming, and framing. In: Jenson KB, Craig RT, Pooley JD, & Rothenbuhler EW (eds), The international encyclopedia of communication theory and philosophy. Wiley, 2016). Through analysis of regular- and postseason CGD pregame and game-of-the-week broadcasts during the 2016 football season, the authors examine the use of animal metaphors and the belief that Black people possess superstrength. The chapter documents prominent narratives promoting Black players as invulnerable in the broadcasts while making the case these narratives serve to prime audiences—including law enforcement—to ascribe inhuman abilities to Black people, thus reinforcing the belief lethal force against them is justified.
... heavy, bloated, slow and lethargic". Across gender, animal metaphors are associated with dehumanization (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011) and social exclusion (Andrighetto, Riva, Gabbiadini, & Volpato, 2016), signifying a base and immoral nature, that lacks agency and rationality (Haslam, 2006). When women are animalized they are invariably positioned as creatures of emotion, nature and desire, and inferior to men (Tipler & Ruscher, 2019), with pig and whale metaphors, in particular, signifying depravity (Haslam et al., 2011). ...
... Across gender, animal metaphors are associated with dehumanization (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011) and social exclusion (Andrighetto, Riva, Gabbiadini, & Volpato, 2016), signifying a base and immoral nature, that lacks agency and rationality (Haslam, 2006). When women are animalized they are invariably positioned as creatures of emotion, nature and desire, and inferior to men (Tipler & Ruscher, 2019), with pig and whale metaphors, in particular, signifying depravity (Haslam et al., 2011). Such dehumanization is also associated with the objectification of the female body (Morris, Goldenberg, & Boyd, 2018), and thus self-positioning as animalistic serves to both denigrate the reproductive body and reinforce women's selfobjectification during the premenstrual phase of the cycle. ...
... "I feel really exposed": Concealment and separation of self from the unruly premenstrual body People go to great lengths to distance themselves from or conceal their own "beastly" animality (Haslam, et al., 2011), "creatureliness" (Goldenberg et al., 2001), or fatness (Gailey & Harjunen, 2019). In this vein, visibility and invisibility was central to the disciplining of the uncontained premenstrual body, associated with fear of surveillance from others, as well as constant self-surveillance. ...
Article
Full-text available
The body is central to women’s construction of premenstrual change as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and to experiences of premenstrual distress. Embodied change, such as bloating or breast tenderness, can act as a marker of PMS. Within biomedical models, PMS is located within the body. Women’s dissatisfaction with their bodies is also reported to be higher in the premenstrual phase of the cycle. What is absent from this analysis is the meaning and experience of embodied change, in the context of broader constructions of femininity and embodiment. In this paper, we adopt a feminist material-discursive theoretical framework to examine the role of premenstrual embodiment in women’s premenstrual distress, drawing on open-ended survey responses and interviews with 83 women who self-diagnose as “PMS sufferers”. We theorize premenstrual body hatred as subjectification, wherein women take up cultural discourse associated with idealized femininity and the stigmatization of the fat body, resulting in self-objectification, distress and dehumanization. However, women can resist negative cultural constructions of premenstrual embodiment. We describe the impact of psychological therapy which increases awareness of emotional and embodied change, resulting in greater acceptance of the premenstrual body and self-care, serving to reduce premenstrual distress and self-objectification.
... It is possible, for example, that animal metaphors communicate negative evaluations in several qualitatively distinct ways, and that their degree of negativity depends on the specific features of those metaphors or the contexts in which they are employed, such as their target and the manner of their expression. These possibilities were examined in a pair of studies by Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun (2011), who attempted to map the variations of a large set of animal metaphors and explore the influences on their offensiveness. ...
... In their first study, Haslam et al. (2011) presented participants with 40 common zoomorphs and asked them to rate each metaphor's offensiveness, and the personality and evaluative traits it implied about its target. Participants also rated several other abstract characteristics of the metaphor that might predict its offensiveness, such as whether the traits conveyed by each 8 metaphor accurately represented those of the animal itself, how negatively the animal was evaluated, how genetically dissimilar the animal was from humans, and how much the user of each metaphor would perceive its target as less than human. ...
... Research by Volpato, Dirante, Gabbiadini, Andrighetto, and Mari (2010) on dehumanizing imagery in an Italian Fascist magazine between 1938 and 1943 confirmed that Africans were metaphorically linked to apes, and Jews to spiders, vipers, parasites, and microbes. Haslam et al.'s (2011) first study clarifies some of the complexities inherent in the meaning of animal metaphors, but their second study demonstrates how those meanings depend in part on the context of their use rather than inhering in the metaphors themselves. Participants read a scenario where one person refers to another using an animal metaphor and the speaker's tone (hostile versus jocular), the target's gender (male versus female), and group membership (ingroup versus outgroup) are varied. ...
Chapter
People employ a large menagerie of animal names to refer to human attributes and identities. Animals present a rich metaphorical domain that we can use to praise or to vilify, to express love or hatred, and to humanize and dehumanize. Although animal metaphors carry diverse meanings and serve varied ends, the more general concept of animality tends to have a negative connotation, representing immorality, stupidity, savagery, and primitiveness. This idea of animality as a devalued contrast to humanness increasingly appears to be a major dimension of social perception. Consciously or nonconsciously, and blatantly or subtly, some racial ethnic, racial, and gender groups are often judged to be less human and more animal-like than others. This chapter explores the workings of animal metaphors as they appear in recent social psychological work, with a special focus on research into dehumanization. We argue that although the use of animal metaphors is not invariably dehumanizing, the belief that some humans are particularly animal-like is both dangerous and troublingly prevalent.
... Lakoff & Turner, 1989). 4 In addition, however, contextual factors influence just how offensive such human is animal metaphors are perceived to be (Baider & Gesuato, 2003;Haslam et al., 2011). The discourse situation and manner in which they are uttered (the tone of expression, the target's gender and in/out-group status) and the cultural associations with the particular animals mentioned all play an important role. ...
... The discourse situation and manner in which they are uttered (the tone of expression, the target's gender and in/out-group status) and the cultural associations with the particular animals mentioned all play an important role. For example, Haslam et al. (2011) found that, generally speaking, the most offensive animal metaphors involve disliked animals such as snakes, rats, and leeches, which lead to moral disgust through associations of depravity and disagreeableness. Animal metaphors are also perceived as more dehumanising/degrading, and therefore more offensive, if they equate rather than compare the target with an animal (usually ape or dog). ...
... 3 Animal metaphors are also used in terms of endearment (e.g. 'monkey' for toddlers) and can, in culturally specific ways, simply stand for certain human traits ('lion' = bravery; 'mouse' = timidity; 'owl' = wisdom)(Haslam et al., 2011). 4 This is assuming that one considers humans and other animals different enough to warrant the label of metaphor (cf.Goatly, 2007;Pragglejaz Group, 2007). ...
... heavy, bloated, slow and lethargic." Animal metaphors are associated with dehumanization (Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun 2011) and social exclusion (Andrighetto et al. 2016), signifying a base and immoral nature, that lacks agency and rationality (Haslam 2006). Women who are animalized are positioned as creatures of emotion, nature and desire, and inferior to men (Tipler and Ruscher 2017), with pig and whale metaphors, in particular, signifying depravity (Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun 2011). ...
... Animal metaphors are associated with dehumanization (Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun 2011) and social exclusion (Andrighetto et al. 2016), signifying a base and immoral nature, that lacks agency and rationality (Haslam 2006). Women who are animalized are positioned as creatures of emotion, nature and desire, and inferior to men (Tipler and Ruscher 2017), with pig and whale metaphors, in particular, signifying depravity (Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun 2011). Such dehumanization is also associated with the objectification of the female body (Morris, Goldenberg, and Boyd 2018), and thus self-positioning as animalistic serves to both denigrate the reproductive body and reinforce women's self-objectification during the premenstrual phase of the cycle. ...
... People go to great lengths to distance themselves from or conceal their own 'beastly' animality (Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun 2011) or 'creatureliness' (Goldenberg et al. 2001). In this vein, visibility, and invisibility was central to the disciplining of the uncontained premenstrual body, associated with fear of surveillance from others, as well as constant self-surveillance. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The female reproductive body is positioned as abject, as other, as site of deficiency and disease, the epitome of the 'monstrous feminine.' Premenstrual change in emotion, behavior or embodied sensation is positioned as a sign of madness within, necessitating restraint and control on the part of the women experiencing it (Ussher 2006). Breakdown in this control through manifestation of 'symptoms' is diagnosed as PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) or PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder), a pathology deserving of 'treatment.' In this chapter, we adopt a feminist material-discursive theoretical framework to examine the role of premenstrual embodiment in relation to women's adoption of the subject position of monstrous feminine, drawing on interviews we have conducted with women who self-diagnose as 'PMS sufferers.' We theorize women's self-positioning as subjectification, wherein women take up cultural discourse associated with idealized femininity and the reproductive body, resulting in self-objectification, distress, and self-condemnation. However, women can resist negative cultural constructions of premenstrual embodiment and the subsequent self-policing. We describe the impact of women-centered psychological therapy which increases awareness of embodied change, and leads to greater acceptance of the premenstrual body and greater self-care, which serves to reduce premenstrual distress. © The Author(s) 2020 C. Bobel et al. (eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Critical Menstruation Studies, https://doi.
... The animalistic form of dehumanization connotes the object is "lacking refinement, civility, moral sensibility, and higher cognition" (Haslam 2006, p. 252). While meanings can vary, animal metaphors typically convey degradation by suggesting stupidity or signify disgust by implying depravity and disagreeableness (Haslam et al. 2011). Dehumanization also functions through objectification (also called "mechanistic dehumanization"), which involves inanimate comparisons or portrayals where people are associated with an object "lacking emotionality, warmth, cognitive openness, and individual agency … and depth" (Haslam 2006, p. 253). ...
... Throughout history, Black people have been subject to demeaning and objectifying representations, stereotypes, and racial bias (Goff et al. 2008;Lott 1999;Volpato et al. 2010). There is a long history of associating Black people to animals, particularly apes, that has served to rationalize their subjugation (Johada 1999; Lott 1999, as cited in Goff et al. 2008) as this association signifies degradation (Haslam et al. 2011). In the contemporary context, animalistic associations are often implicit, but significant in shaping white views and treatment of Black people (Goff et al. 2008(Goff et al. , 2014Mekawi et al. 2016). ...
... Animal characterizations also carry with them the implication of being primitive and of underdeveloped intelligence and rationality (Haslam et al. 2011). As such, the frequent descriptions of Black players' "instinctiveness" both echoed and reinforced animal characterizations. ...
Book
Full-text available
This book examines the increasing marginalization of and response by people living in urban areas throughout the Western Hemisphere, and both the local and global implications of continued colonial racial hierarchies and the often-dire consequences they have for people perceived as different. However, in the aftermath of recent U.S. elections, whiteness also seems to embody strictures on religion, ethnicity, country of origin, and almost any other personal characteristic deemed suspect at the moment. For that reason, gender, race, and even class, collectively, may not be sufficient units of analysis to study the marginalizing mechanisms of the urban center. The authors interrogate the social and institutional structures that facilitate the disenfranchisement or downward trajectory of groups, and their potential or subsequent lack of access to mainstream rewards. The book also seeks to highlight examples where marginalized groups have found ways to assert their equality. No recent texts have attempted to connect the mechanisms of marginality across geographical and political boundaries within the Western Hemisphere.
... Thus, the malevolent traits of lockdown evaders were compared to those of horses (Kövecses, 2002). The co-occurrence of expressions related to regions ("provinces") revealed that the lockdown evaders were associated with guilt; their evasion was perceived as the cause of the growing number of cases in other cities. Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun (2011) propose that, if an animal is particularly disliked, it tends to be deployed for name-calling and dehumanization of social actors; relatedly, this finding shows that even horses, which are domesticated animals, often with positive associations, could be used to stigmatize a social group. In this context, I suggest that there may be a difference between the use of disliked and liked animals in dehumanizing a social group -the disliked ones rendered the outgroup lowly and passive (e.g., they deserved to be beaten and eliminated), whereas the liked ones gave the outgroup a more active status (e.g., they brought harm to others). ...
... The pig metaphors in both extracts, were demeaning name-calling, used to portray a lowly and inferior image of lockdown evaders (Haslam et al., 2011). The name-calling was further strengthened through death-related expressions, including 死瘟猪 ("drop-dead pig with swine flu"), 火化 ("cremated"), and 杀猪 ("kill pigs"), showing the repugnance and fury of users. ...
... If using historical associations between groups and animals as one source of evidence for the dehumanization hypothesis, it is crucial to search for disconfirmatory as well as confirmatory cases (for a review of research on the confirmation bias, see Nickerson, 1998). Surveying realworld examples more broadly, it is clear that comparisons to nonhuman entities are not always used as a way to insult or demean (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011). Comparisons to animals can be used to compliment an individual and even to highlight some of their prototypically human virtues. ...
... The dehumanization hypothesis proposes that, to the extent they are dehumanized, out-group members are perceived in a similar way as nonhuman entities, most commonly animals or automata (Haslam, 2006;Haslam & Loughnan, 2014;Haslam et al., 2011;Smith, 2011). Although there may be occasions on which out-group members are described in ways that are equivalent to how animals and automata are described, these cases are much less common than they first appear. ...
Article
Full-text available
Propagandists often compare members of stigmatized out-groups to nonhuman entities such as rats, lice, and snakes. Drawing on these horrifying descriptions, the dehumanization hypothesis proposes that out-group members are viewed as less than human and that being viewed as less than human renders them vulnerable to harm. I offer seven challenges to the dehumanization hypothesis. I argue that, even in supposedly prototypical examples of extreme dehumanization, out-group members are not treated like nonhuman entities. Furthermore, although out-group members may be denied some human qualities and states, they are attributed others. I also argue that there is reason to doubt the hypothesized causal connection between being viewed as less than human and being at risk of harm—some nonhuman organisms are treated with great care, and some groups are harmed because of how their uniquely human qualities are perceived. I close by offering an alternative account of why out-group members are sometimes referred to as nonhuman entities.
... This choice indicates one of the intersections of communications studies and international studies. From a theoretical aspect, many scholars have advanced the argument that language is a primary means of persuasion (Bourdieu, 1979;Charteris-Black, 2005;Donohue, 2012;Dowell, Kaltner, Windsor, & Windsor, 2017;Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011;Merry, 2016;Newman, 1959;Savage, 2007;Steuter & Wills, 2009;Stollznow, 2013;Straus, 2007). More absolutely, rhetoric and persuasion are inseparable due to the rhetorical mechanisms that help shape how an audience views the world around them (Charteris-Black 2005, 8). ...
... The input for "toxification" in the dictionary is based on the two foundational articles proposing the concept of toxification as well as driving theory and literature that influenced the development of the concept (Maynard & Benesch, 2016;Neilsen, 2015;Neilsen & Williams, 2016;Savage, 2007). "Dehumanization" words were selected based on the aforementioned articles, which work to delineate the two concepts, as well as literature on the application and operationalization of dehumanization (Donohue, 2012;Haslam, 2006;Haslam et al., 2011;Luna, 2018;Stollznow, 2013). ...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis seeks to specify empirical differences between two types of rhetoric thought to contribute to the onset of genocide: dehumanization and toxification. It utilizes radio transcripts from the Rwandan Genocide to test two propositions: that toxification and dehumanization are empirically distinguishable, and that toxification contributes to the onset and/or intensification of killings in a genocidal context. Results indicate that there are empirically demonstrable differences between dehumanization and toxification, but toxification does not contribute to the onset or intensification of genocide. Instead, the Rwandan case indicates toxification may be utilized as an attempt to motivate latent perpetrators to participate and justify the actions of those already participating in the genocide, as well as to attempt to maintain power in the face of perceived loss. This thesis contributes to the literature on dehumanization and the uses of language in genocide.
... • She opens the interaction with the idiomatic abusive animal metaphor (see Haslam et al. 2011) meiyou-buchi-shi-de-gou 没有不吃屎的狗 'there is no dog W goes directly to the bed and forces A down to the ground, while pulling off the duvet A is using to cover her face and body. The husband in bed is quickly trying to move away from the bed. ...
... -She opens the interaction with the idiomatic abusive animal metaphor (see Haslam et al. 2011) meiyou-buchi-shi-de-gou 没有不吃屎的狗 'there is no dog who doesn't eat shit', which frames the cheating couple as of people of the lowest moral standards. ...
Article
Full-text available
This paper investigates cases in which people who are perceived to have violated a major communal and/or social norm are humiliated in public in a ritual way. As a case study we examine online videos drawn from the Chinese videosharing site Youku. Humiliation as a form of punishment has been thoroughly studied in sociology (see e.g., the seminal work of Foucault 1977). This interest is not coincidental, considering that studying humiliation may provide insight into the operation of shame as a punitive phenomenon, as well as the role of publicity and complex participation structures when shame is inflicted on others. Yet, punitive humiliation has been understudied in pragmatics; in particular, little research has been done on cases in which it is not an institutionally/socially ratified person (e.g., a judge) but the members of the public who inflict humilation. The study of this phenomenon contributes to the present Special Issue as it demonstrates that pragmatics provides a powerful tool to model the dynamics of (language) behaviour such as humiliation that might be difficult to capture by using more conventional linguistic approaches. We demonstrate that while ritual public communal humiliation tends to be highly aggressive, it also shows noteworthy recurrent (meta)pragmatic similarities with institutionalised forms of punishment.
... Comme Kövecses (1997Kövecses ( , 2010a le suggère, beaucoup des comportements humains sont métaphoriquement compris en termes de ceux des animaux. Sous le cadre de la linguistique cognitive, de nombreuses études (Fontecha et Catalán, 2003 ;Dalbera, 2006 ;Talebinejad & Dastjerdi, 2005 ;Haslam, Loughnan & Sun, 2011 ;Hsieh, 2004 ;Kiełtyka & Kleparski, 2005b ;Rakusan, 2004), unilingues ou interlinguistiques, sur la métaphore d'animaux posent cette question : comment les termes associés (Lakoff & Turner, 1989) comporter au moins celles-ci selon Kövecses (1997Kövecses ( , 2010a, ainsi que quelques expressions linguistiques les illustrent : ...
... Néanmoins, le faible nombre d'occurrences de ces métaphores ne signifie pas qu'elles ne sont pas conventionnelles. Certaines métaphores sont conventionnelles mais au niveau de la métaphore conceptuelle LES HUMAINS SONT DES ANIMAUX (Dalbera, 2006 ;Haslam, Loughnan & Sun, 2011 ;Hsieh, 2004 ;Kövecses, 2010a ;Talebinejad & Dastjerdi, 2005), sans lien avec un sexe en particulier. Les raisons peuvent être motivées par l'apparence ou les comportements des animaux. ...
Thesis
Cette étude a pour objectif d’enquêter sur les métaphores de genre (MG désormais) qui décrivent les femmes (métaphores désignant les femmes, MF) et les hommes (métaphores désignant les hommes, MH) en français et en mandarin en se fondant sur la Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Pour chaque langue, les métaphores sont récoltées en adoptant deux sources de données : un dictionnaire et un questionnaire administré à 240 locuteurs (120 hommes, 120 femmes). Nous établissons par la suite une comparaison intra-langue ainsi qu’inter-langue. Les résultats des dictionnaires montrent que même si l’utilisation des domaines sources diffère entre les deux langues, les métaphores s’adressant aux femmes et aux hommes sont asymétriques en quantité et qualité. Premièrement, le nombre de MF est plus élevé que le nombre de MH. Deuxièmement, les connotations de ces MF sont plus péjoratives que celles liées aux MH, particulièrement au sujet de la sexualité des femmes.Les données des questionnaires sont analysées à trois niveaux : l’appartenance aux domaines sources (ANIMAUX, PLANTES), les types de MG (lions, fleurs) et les caractéristiques des MG (traits physiques, personnalité, fonctions et rôles sociaux). En analysant les MF et MH auprès des locuteurs et locutrices natifs du français et du mandarin, nous remarquons que même si l’utilisation des domaines sources et les caractéristiques soulignées sont différentes, des modèles similaires émergent dans les deux langues. Une Théorie du script du genre linguistique est par conséquent proposée afin d’interpréter ces modèles. Elle explique comment des métaphores conventionnelles concernant les deux sexes sont utilisées comme un script écrit pour guider les femmes et les hommes afin qu’ils jouent les rôles sociaux qui leur sont assignés. Enfin, la comparaison inter-langue révèle certaines réalités sociales en montrant les différences de traitement entre les deux sexes en France et à Taïwan. De plus, nous montrons que la sélection des domaines sources et des caractéristiques qu’ils contiennent est associée à la cosmologie de ces deux cultures. Dans la culture française, la relation entre les humains et d’autres êtres est considérée comme verticale, expliquée par la structure hiérarchisée de LA GRANDE CHAÎNE DE LA VIE. En revanche, cette relation est vue comme horizontale dans la culture chinoise où les humains et l’univers sont perçus comme vivants en harmonie, ce qui est défini par la philosophie de l’Unité de l’univers et du genre humain.
... If using historical associations between groups and animals as one source of evidence for the dehumanisation hypothesis, it is crucial to search for disconfirmatory as well as confirmatory cases (see Nickerson, 1998, for a review of research on the confirmation bias). Surveying real-world examples more broadly, it is clear that comparisons to non-human entities are not always used as a way to insult or demean (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011). Comparisons to animals can be used to compliment an individual, and even to highlight some of their prototypically human virtues. ...
... The dehumanisation hypothesis proposes that, to the extent they are dehumanised, outgroup members are perceived in a similar way to non-human entities, most commonly animals or automata (Haslam 2006;Haslam & Loughnan, 2014;Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011;Smith, 2011). Although there may be occasions on which outgroup members are described in ways that are equivalent to how animals and automata are described, these cases are much less common than they first appear. ...
Article
Propaganda often compares members of stigmatised outgroups to non-human entities such as rats, lice and snakes. Drawing on these horrifying descriptions, the dehumanisation hypothesis proposes that outgroup members are viewed as ‘less than human’, and that being viewed as less than human renders them vulnerable to harm. I offer seven challenges to the dehumanisation hypothesis. I argue that, even in supposedly prototypical examples of extreme dehumanisation, outgroup members are not treated in a similar way to non-human entities. Furthermore, although outgroup members may be denied some human qualities and states, they are attributed others. I also argue that there is reason to doubt the hypothesised causal connection between being viewed as less than human and being at risk of harm – some non-human organisms are treated with great care, and some groups are harmed because of how their uniquely human qualities are perceived. I close by offering an alternative account of why outgroup members are sometimes referred to as nonhuman entities.
... Future research with children should explore this question, and should take into account differences in meaning when the words are associate to the in-group or the out-group. Even the same words have different meanings when they referred to the in-group or the out-group: The same animal expression sounds more offensive when expressed toward an outgroup member than an in-group member (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011). ...
... For example, it is not clear if dehumanization is a stable judgement of outgroups, stored in long-term memory, or if it is a temporal construction, derived from the interaction of children in the experimental tasks. When applied to ingroup and outgroups, words change their meaning and valence, especially animalrelated words (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011). It could be very enlightening to include questions about valence ratings of the stimuli used in the studies not only in a pilot study, but also in the main studies. ...
Article
Full-text available
Three studies were conducted to determine whether outgroups were dehumanized through animalization since childhood. Using the Implicit Association Test (IAT), in Study 1 we found faster reaction times in the compatible condition (ingroup names and human words, outgroup names and animal words), compared with the incompatible condition (ingroup names and animal words, outgroup names and human words). In Study 2, we used a paper-and-pencil design and found that the association between animal-related words and outgroups was more prevalent in comparison to ingroups. The participants of Study 3 selected a larger number of animal-related words to describe the outgroups than their own groups. Results revealed that the tendency to animalize is a process that begins during early childhood.
... Certain features of social systems have been identified as relevant to psychological conditions during conflict situations. Changes in the manner, intensity, and use of dehumanization metaphors stand contingent to context, shaped by characteristics of ingroup and outgroup, power relations, culture (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011;Leyens et al., 2007), and contexts of violence, whether episodic (Cameron, Maslen, & Todd, 2013) or protracted (Calissendorff, Brosché, & Sundberg, 2019). ...
... Note also that racist ideologies, e.g. defined certain groups of human beings primarily as animals, as did slaveholders with African slaves (see Haslam 2006;Haslam et al. 2007;Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun 2011). Moreover, many may say that men, women, children, etc. must have a superordinate category but of HUMAN BEING rather than PERSON, because the latter is often associated with consciousness, rationality, feelings, rights, etc. (see McHugh 1992 for a discussion within the context of abortion). ...
Article
There are lots of Western myths about Arab societies, such as the one in which it is common for Arabs to conceptualize the colonization and subsequent control of Arab countries by the West as emasculation. Such myths, unfortunately, come from reliable sources, and do not serve Arabs well. Mythology matters. From a cognitive science perspective, myths are in the synapses of brains, defining heroes and villains, what is right and wrong, and what makes sense [Lakoff, 2006. Whose freedom? The battle over America’s most important idea. New York, NY: Farrar, Straus and Giroux]. Using a large corpus of 336 Egyptian political cartoons, this article examines the role of the NATION AS PERSON metaphor for moral political cognition in terms of Lakoff’s [1996. Moral politics: How conservatives and liberals think. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press] STRICT-FATHER and NURTURANT-PARENT family models. The results of the present study debunk a series of myths about gender representation of the nation in Arab nationalism. Some comparisons with other Arab countries and with the representations of the United States of America (USA), Israel and Britain are also provided, reinforcing the argument and demonstrating its complexity.
... In dehumanising animalistic metaphors, the denigrating purpose is usually achieved by choosing a particularly disgusting or harmful animal as a source domain of a metaphor (Waśniewska 2017(Waśniewska , 2018Prażmo 2019). Other dehumanising metaphors which involve animals that are not reviled can still degrade the person who is likened to them, depending on various contextual factors in metaphor use (Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun 2011;Tipler and Ruscher 2019). Having said that, the metaphor humans are parasites is one of the most commonly applied metaphors found in various historical as well as contemporary discourses (Musolff 2012;Waśniewska 2017;Prażmo and Augustyn 2020). ...
Article
Dialogue plays a most important role in interpersonal relations creating and strengthening social cohesion. Conversely, the lack of dialogue – and more tellingly a deliberate resistance to it – leads to social friction and animosity. In this paper I focus on a strategy used to intentionally disable a possibility of a meaningful dialogue and to deny any voice to the “other”. Dehumanising the “other” by linguistically representing them as animals or machines exempts the perpetrator from any obligation towards the “other”, including the obligation to respect their rights. I adopt Haslam’s model of dehumanisation ( 2006 ) which shows how, by means of metaphorical language, women are dehumanised and denied the possibility to participate in a meaningful dialogue in the so called manosphere.
... Animal metaphors have been used throughout history to degrade social or racial groups (e.g., likening people to apes or dogs) or create disgust toward such groups (e.g., likening people to leeches or rats; Haslam et al. 2011). For example, Native Americans have historically been likened to wild animals and wolves (Castano and Giner-Sorolla 2006); terrorists, to vermin (Jackson and Gaertner 2010); and Jews during the holocaust, to rats (Gilbert 1987). ...
Article
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A common metaphor used to describe heterosexual relationships frames men as predators and women as prey. The present work assessed potential consequences of these metaphoric portrayals. Participants read a heterosexual dating scenario that did or did not metaphorically frame the situation in predator and prey terms. Using a U.S. college undergraduate sample of 120 women and 82 men in Study 1, exposure to these metaphors led to greater rape myth acceptance among men (but not among women). Using a broader sample of 76 women and 72 men via MTurk, Study 2 replicated these results and also found metaphor exposure led to greater rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity. Furthermore, a mediation analysis indicated that men exposed to these metaphors were more likely to accept rape myths, which in turn predicted their self-reported greater rape proclivity. Such results demonstrate the harmful outcomes that can result from describing romantic interactions where men are the predators and women are the prey.
... The text-mining approach we developed for the dataset in study 1 uncovers subtle failures to fully recognize others' humanity using naturalistic descriptions of individuals' own experiences (i.e., customer reviews). While the importance of language in dehumanization has been emphasized (e.g., Haslam, 2015), prior work has primarily focused on more blatant metaphors linked to animalistic dehumanization (e.g., beast, gorilla; Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011). As our approach operationalizes (de) humanization as the ascription of humanizing trait words to others, it holds potential for application across a wide array of contexts in which dehumanization might emerge such as in the workplace and in intergroup conflicts. ...
Article
Consumers are frequently bombarded with a myriad of marketing tactics. One tactic regularly employed by thrift-oriented brands is to highlight low prices, discounts, and sales promotions. When consumers encounter these low-price signals, they may adopt a price conscious mentality, that is, a singular focus on getting the cheapest deal. A price conscious mentality is likely beneficial for consumers, as it helps them save money. However, it is also possible that it has negative implications, particularly for how consumers perceive and interact with other human beings in the marketplace, such as customer service employees. The current research addresses this issue by investigating how consumers’ price conscious mentality impacts their perceptions of employees’ humanity. Results from four studies demonstrate that a price conscious mentality can lead consumers away from fully recognizing the human qualities of employees. The findings also suggest that this subtle form of dehumanization can result in harsher treatment of employees when they provide less than satisfactory service.
... Indeed, animal metaphors can be used to insult ethnic groups (Rice et al., 2010) and to literally equate a target group to the animal in question. Recently, Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun (2011) conducted an extensive research program on the use of animal metaphors to refer to individual or groups in Australia. In their content analyses, Haslam that animal metaphors exert their derogating, offensive function by the aversion experienced regarding the animal (e.g., snake) and by the dehumanizing view of the target that the metaphor involves. ...
Chapter
Intergroup relations shape group members’ linguistic choices, and group members’ language molds the quality of intergroup relations. Indeed, intergroup relations are often connoted by conflict, asymmetrical status, and prejudice, and the quality of intergroup relations dramatically affects the manner in which people speak about individual members and groups as a whole. Conversely, the language people rely on to address individual members and groups contributes to maintain—and in certain cases even enhances—intergroup conflict and discrimination. Among the different forms of biased language and derogatory group labels are epithets, short tags that convey negative attitudes, and dehumanizing representations of the members or groups they address. Racial slurs, homophobic epithets, and sexist labels can be interpreted by addressing the perspective of the users, the audience, and the victim. Taking into account the user perspective, derogatory group labels express discriminatory and negative attitudes toward specific groups and communicate that the targeted individual is deviating from what is normatively expected. As far as the audience is concerned, the incidental overhearing of these labels affects the cognitive accessibility of semantic knowledge associated with the targeted group, influences the perception of the targeted individual, and strengthens intergroup biases. Finally, being the victim of these labels can negatively affect the well-being of the targeted individual by eliciting negative affect, self-directed prejudice, and worries of non-conformity. The discussion and analysis of the relation between intergroup dynamics and labeling provide the reader with crucial information to handle the current debate on politically correct speech.
... At moments of conflict, animal metaphors are particularly likely to enter public discourse and political propaganda. Interestingly, animal metaphors include both very distant animals (e.g., worms, parasites) that generate disgust, and phylogenetically close animals (e.g., apes) that lack critical human features (Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011). For instance, as a central part of fascist propaganda, Jews were equated with parasites and the same metaphor reappeared recently in populist and social media in Germany when commenting on Greece during the Greek debt crisis. ...
Article
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In this article, we review the different functions that language and symbols (in particular clothing) fulfill in group life; language and clothing are rarely, if ever, discussed together in the same conceptual space. Our review includes a consideration of how social identities are communicated and discredited, boundaries crossed, and group norms established, maintained, and regulated. Throughout, we integrate motivational and social-cognitive approaches, ending with proposals for future research and theory in intergroup communication.
... Note that not all animalistic metaphors need be dehumanizing or hostile, as when we playfully call a child a 'little piglet' (seeHaslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011). ...
Article
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Although dehumanization research first emerged following the overt and conscious denials of humanity present during war and genocide, modern dehumanization research largely examines more subtle and implicit forms of dehumanization in more everyday settings. We argue for the need to re-orient the research agenda towards understanding when and why individuals blatantly dehumanize others. We review recent research in a range of contexts suggesting that blatant dehumanization is surprisingly prevalent and potent, uniquely predicting aggressive intergroup attitudes and behavior beyond subtle forms of dehumanization and outgroup dislike, and promoting vicious cycles of conflict.
... The metaphor-based approach focuses on the association of social groups with nonhuman entities-either animals or robots. For instance, research has shown that some outgroups (e.g., artists, Black people) are linked to words semantically associated with the animal concept (e.g., pet, creature, wild) or are directly linked to animal words (e.g., ape, dog); meanwhile, social ingroups are associated with humanness (e.g., civilian, person) or with humans themselves (Boccato, Capozza, Falvo, & Durante, 2008;Goff, Eberhardt, Williams, & Jackson, 2008;Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011;Saminaden, Loughnan, & Haslam, 2010;Viki et al., 2006). Likewise, several studies have shown a mechanistic dehumanization of other social categories (e.g., business people, police officers) that are directly associated with or assimilated to robots (e.g., Hetey & Eberhardt, 2014;. ...
Article
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The present work investigated associations of older people with humanness. Focusing on complementary approaches (attribute-based, metaphor-based, and target-based), 4 studies tested the hypothesis that older people are the targets of animalistic dehumanization. Using an emotional attribution task, Study 1 (N = 112) explored infrahumanization and shows that young participants attributed more uniquely human emotions to young people than to older ones. No such effect occurred with regards to nonuniquely human emotions. Results of Study 2 (N = 62) replicated this result using a lexical-decision task. Using the metaphor-based approach, Study 3 (N = 99) confirmed that older people's dehumanization is restricted to its animalistic form and does not extend to the mechanistic one. Finally, in Study 4 (N = 167), we used a target-based approach and showed that characteristics initially attributed to older people are perceived as denoting lesser humanness than when these same characteristics are associated with younger people. Results of the 4 studies provide evidence for an animalistic form of dehumanization of older people by younger ones. Limits, implications, and future research are discussed.
... Recent work outside the context of the current election cycle illustrates why the blatant dehumanization of Latinos and Muslims may be so consequential. Although contemporary research on dehumanization has tended to focus on its more subtle, everyday forms, Kteily, Bruneau, Waytz, and Cotterill (2015) have demonstrated that blatant dehumanization continues to be relevant in modern society (see also Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011;Jackson & Gaertner, 2010). Using a novel measure of blatant dehumanization based on the popular "Ascent of Man" diagram, these authors showed that, on average, samples of British and American participants explicitly rated Muslims as less "evolved" than their own group. ...
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Research suggests that members of advantaged groups who feel dehumanized by other groups respond aggressively. But little is known about how meta-dehumanization affects disadvantaged minority group members, historically the primary targets of dehumanization. We examine this important question in the context of the 2016 U.S. Republican Primaries, which have witnessed the widespread derogation and dehumanization of Mexican immigrants and Muslims. Two initial studies document that Americans blatantly dehumanize Mexican immigrants and Muslims; this dehumanization uniquely predicts support for aggressive policies proposed by Republican nominees, and dehumanization is highly associated with supporting Republican candidates (especially Donald Trump). Two further studies show that, in this climate, Latinos and Muslims in the United States feel heavily dehumanized, which predicts hostile responses including support for violent versus non-violent collective action and unwillingness to assist counterterrorism efforts. Our results extend theorizing on dehumanization, and suggest that it may have cyclical and self-fulfilling consequences.
... Recent work outside the context of the current election cycle illustrates why the blatant dehumanization of Latinos and Muslims may be so consequential. Although contemporary research on dehumanization has tended to focus on its more subtle, everyday forms, Kteily, Bruneau, Waytz, and Cotterill (2015) have demonstrated that blatant dehumanization continues to be relevant in modern society (see also Haslam, Loughnan, & Sun, 2011;Jackson & Gaertner, 2010). Using a novel measure of blatant dehumanization based on the popular 'Ascent of Man' diagram, these authors showed that, on average, samples of British and American participants explicitly rated Muslims as less 'evolved' than their own group. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research suggests that members of advantaged groups who feel dehumanized by other groups respond aggressively. But little is known about how meta-dehumanization affects disadvantaged minority group members, historically the primary targets of dehumanization. We examine this important question in the context of the 2016 U.S. Republican Primaries, which have witnessed the widespread derogation and dehumanization of Mexican immigrants and Muslims. Two initial studies document that: Americans blatantly dehumanize Mexican immigrants and Muslims, this dehumanization uniquely predicts support for aggressive policies proposed by Republican nominees, and dehumanization is highly associated with supporting Republican candidates (especially Donald Trump). Two further studies show that, in this climate, Latinos and Muslims in the U.S. feel heavily dehumanized, which predicts hostile responses including support for violent versus non-violent collective action and unwillingness to assist counter-terrorism efforts. Our results extend theorizing on dehumanization, and suggest that it may have cyclical and self-fulfilling consequences.
... Moreover, the combination of robots and animals in the case of mercenaries and terrorists may display a third metaphor in the study of dehumanization. Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun (2011) paid special attention to animal metaphors; in general, name-calling with animal metaphors (notably ape, rat, and pig, in their second study) is perceived as demeaning. The more offensive the name-calling, the more the animal is disliked, and the more the animal is dehumanizing. ...
... The other variables included may be more proximal in pushing punitive action tendencies than dehumanization. Furthermore, the construct of dehumanization, as operationalized in the works and scales of Haslam (2006) as well as that of Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun (2011) may not be in synchrony with operationalizations of the construct in the Philippine context. The scale for dehumanization utilizes attributes such as (the lack of) warmth, intelligence, restraint, and sophistication in order to attribute dehumanization, which may not be the attributes Filipinos use to dehumanize particular groups or individuals in society. ...
Article
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Public attitudes toward drug sellers/pushers and users have generally been negative (i.e. Bryan, Moran, Farrell, & O'Brien, 2000; McCorkle, 1993; World Health Organization, 2003) and there is significant support for their harsh punishment (McCorkle, 1993). However, research in punitiveness has not extensively explored the impact of social perceptions (i.e. perceived support for the president, perceived endorsement of harsher measures, beliefs on the country's state vis-à-vis the drug trade, and perceived relationship between drugs and crime), emotions (i.e. hope, compassion, anger, hatred, and fear), and other cognitive factors (i.e. dehumanization and redeemability) on people's punitiveness toward drug sellers/pushers and users. To address this dearth, two online surveys conducted with differing target objects (viz. drug sellers/pushers vs. drug users) were answered by a total of 436 participants. Hierarchical regression analyses indicate that, when the target objects were drug sellers/pushers, support for punitive action was positively influenced by personal support for the president, perceived endorsement by the president of harsher measures, perceived relationship between drugs and crime, anger and hatred but negatively affected by compassion and redeemability. When punitiveness toward drug users was the issue, the significant predictors were personal support for the president, perceived relationship between drugs and crime, and hatred. Compassion, however, had a negative impact on punitiveness toward drug users. Implications on punitiveness research were discussed.
... One interesting theoretical implication of this fact is that dehumanization cannot be defined simply as the likening of a human to an animal: only some likenings are dehumanizing. Haslam, Loughnan and Sun (2011) carried out the first systematic study of the psychological content of animal metaphors. They explored forty common metaphors and found that they implied a varied assortment of traits, both positive and negative, but with the most common themes being stupidity, lack of self-control, and moral depravity. ...
... Thus, as a useful indirect strategy, a metaphor can both promote politicians and their political agendas, and attack their opponents in pragmatically complex ways (Chan and Yap 2015). To determine which factors contribute to offensiveness, Haslam et al. (2011) have examined content and context in the use of animal metaphors. They argue that offensiveness is intrinsic to particular metaphors and determined by their context of use. ...
Article
This paper examines metaphors that are intended to express an offensive meaning in Chinese diplomatic discourse, and the role that these metaphors play in the discursive construction of the ascribed identities of various countries. It pays particular attention to the period between 1954 and 1966 and, in so doing, fills an important knowledge gap as historical Chinese political metaphors have been somewhat neglected in the field. This study of Chinese metaphors reveals that the source domains PERSONIFICATION, PERSON, ANIMAL and PERFORMANCE were most frequently used to evoke offence in the Chinese political arena. The way in which these offensive metaphors were deployed was dependent on the political situation at that time: for instance, the U.S. was constructed as a ‘tough’ political ‘exploiter’ who was supported by a ‘band’ of minor allies, India as an ‘unreasonable’ representative of the Americans while asserting non-alignment in diplomacy, and the Soviet Union as a ‘cold-blooded’ former friend of China. This historical study is significant for two main reasons. First, it presents the complex socio-political contexts that existed during 1954–1966 when China was undergoing diplomatic development and their influence on the pragmatic use of metaphors for delivering offence. Although some of the metaphors might appear to be outdated when compared with present-day Chinese political language, this change reflects developments in the global political situation and Chinese diplomatic language over the last number of decades. Second, the study highlights the cultural characteristics of Chinese metaphors and demonstrates their use in political discourse for persuading the Chinese public.
... Distancing is also created through our language and culture (Haslam et al., 2011). To this point, previous research highlights that killing is expressed differently for humans and animals where animals are slaughtered but humans are murdered (Stibbe, 2001). ...
Thesis
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This qualitative exploratory study focuses on understanding meat-eating practices in urban Australia and urban India, with a view towards encouraging a reduced-meat diet in both countries.
... That is, they refer to "essential" internal qualities (e.g., ape-ness) rather than to specific actions, which makes defense very difficult. Verbal attacks of this sort are often accompanied by equally dehumanizing images as in the case of animal metaphors (see Haslam et al., 2011). ...
Article
Over the last decades, the use of explicit derogatory language (e.g., hate speech, slurs, micro-insults) has risen in many countries. We provide an overview on blatant language discrimination, including its psychological antecedents and consequences. After presenting a working definition of derogatory language and describing its prevalence, we discuss the social functions it serves and the role it plays in identity protection, in legitimizing group hierarchies, and in establishing and enforcing group norms. Drawing from both the socio-cognitive and discursive traditions in social psychology, it is argued that the language people are exposed to and the language they employ, shape the way they think and construct reality. We also consider two ways in which targeted groups may respond to derogatory language, specifically confrontation and reappropriation. Finally, we address challenges for future research, in particular the need for more cross disciplinary research to ebb the growing proliferation of hate speech on digital media which has become a global international concern.
... Although most measures of dehumanization in social psychology have been linguistically mediated, as in the case of questionnaires and ratings scales, the use of linguistic metaphors has been relatively neglected. One study by Haslam, Loughnan, and Sun (2011) explored the perceived offensiveness of a range of animal metaphors used to refer to persons. They found that metaphors varied markedly in their offensiveness and that there were two main routes through which offensiveness was generated. ...
Chapter
In this chapter I offer an overview and evaluation of dehumanization research within social psychology. The overview summarizes the history of that research tradition, the theoretical frameworks that have been elaborated, the wide range of definitions, conceptualizations and measures that have been developed, the many topic domains that have been explored, and what the research purports to tell us about the causes and consequences of dehumanization. It concludes with a discussion of four concerns raised by the current state of psychological research on dehumanization, and how they might be addressed within the emerging multidisciplinary field of dehumanization studies. The chapter pays special and repeated attention to the issue of breadth: the definitional, theoretical, methodological, and substantive diversity of existing work in the field of social psychology, the fact that this diversity is growing, and the difficulties this expansion may generate.
... Penggunaan kata "Monyet", "babi", "anjing", "kera" merupakan majas metafora yang menganggap manusia sebagai binatang. Ujaran rasis yang mengumpamakan manusia seperti binatang menyebabkan ketersinggungan pada target metafora (Haslam et al., 2011) Persekusi dalam bentuk perlakuan buruk dengan menyebabkan ketersinggungan inilah yang memicu konflik yang lebih besar. Frasa "aksi damai" menunjukan peran suara.com ...
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Peristiwa pengepungan mahasiswa Papua oleh aparat pemerintah dan organisasi massa di Asrama Mahasiswa Papua, Jalan Kalasan, Surabaya pada 16 Agustus 2019, berujung penangkapan 42 mahasiswa oleh pihak Kepolisian. Banyak pro dan kontra di berbagai headline media online. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui bagaimana framing tirto.id dan suara.com dalam memberitakan konflik antara mahasiswa Papua dan masyarakat lokal di Surabaya serta faktor-faktor yang memengaruhinya. Mengunakan pendekatan kualitatif dengan model analisis framing Zhongdang Pan dan Gerald M. Kosicki. Data penelitian ini diambil selama periode 17 Agustus – 10 September 2019. Hasil penelitian ini menunjukan bahwa (1) Media online tirto.id memosisikan peranya dalam memperluas eskalasi konflik dengan menunjukan keritik terhadap pemerintah melalui dua pembingkaian diantaranya; aparat pemerintah refresif terhadap mahasiswa Papua, dan rasisme dalam konflik Papua Surabaya. (2) suara.com yang memosisikan peranya dalam mendamaikan eskalasi konflik menunjukan citra positif pemerintah melalui dua pembingkaian diantaranya: kesigapan aparat pemerintah menangani konflik, dan persekusi memicu konflik yang lebih besar. Ada beberapa faktor yang memengaruhi pembingkaian. Secara internal seperti, ideologi, individu, organisasi media, dan rutinitas media. Sedangkan secara eksternal seperti, sumber berita, khalayak, sumber pendanaan, teknologi, dll.
... Some users stigmatise Fang using degrading terms such as Rubbish, Stupid Fang and even Shit Traitor (see Table 1) or combining her name with degrading imageries to form ad-hoc names, such as Tablecloth Fang and Dog Fang. Comparing people to animals such as pigs and dogs is offensive (Haslam et al., 2011). In the case of Dog Fang, for instance, it conveys the message that she is sub-human. ...
Article
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Previous studies on public opinion expression in communication, political science and discourse analysis are restricted to a censorship-/counter-censorship frame and focus their analysis on events with political agendas. This study explores netizens’ discursive practice by focusing the analysis on netizens’ language use in context per se, rather than from a censorship/counter-censorship viewpoint. It adopts a discursive pragmatic approach to examine a ‘mundane’ trending topic regarding a dispute between two public figures rather than ‘major’ events with acute social and political agendas. This study present evidence that Weibo users criticise public figures through indirect discursive strategies, including parody of name, constructed dialogues and rhetorical questions. It also highlights two prominent sentiments in Weibo public spheres during the COVID-19 pandemic – cyber nationalism and binary opposition between China and the rest of the world. The online backlash against Fang demonstrates how easily netizens can change their views towards a certain event.
... In Arabic and English, snake also refers to a treacherous or deceitful person. The animal metaphor is an aggravated insult, given (i) the direction of conceptualization, from a lower frame to a higher one (Kӧvecses 2010) in the basic Great Chain of Being (Lakoff and Turner 1989), and (ii) the negative cultural associations with the particular animal depicted (Demjén and Hardaker 2016;Haslam et al. 2011). For Leech, the use of insulting animal metaphors as such is a case of taboo language, and hence is considered as face attack. ...
Article
This paper is meant to give an account of multimodal (im)politeness in political cartoons, drawing primarily on critical discourse studies (CDS) (in particular, Teun van Dijk’s notion of “context models” and Paul Chilton’s concept of “critical discourse moments”), blending theory (Fauconnier and Turner 2002), and speech act theory (especially Geoffrey Leech’s most recent revisions of Penelope Brown and Stephen C. Levinson’s notions of negative and positive face). There is of course an abundant literature on blending theory, but the potential of this theory for analysing face-enhancing or face-threatening multimodal discourse has not been fully realised. It is shown that political cartoons can exemplify not only face attack but also face enhancement, and that blending theory can contribute to the comprehending and critique of sociopolitical action or linguistic and nonlinguistic forms of control that may operate in the world. The article thus demonstrates the value that results from merging critical cognitive linguistics and sociopragmatics.
... Being enclosed in a limited space without the freedom to move elsewhere, receiving the same poor-quality and insufficient quantity of food month after month, and being beaten without recourse if caught outside the camp or if protesting within the camp were all common reasons for animal comparisons. These metaphors and analogies revealed strong resonance with the arguments about the inhumanity of humanitarianism made by Harrell-Bond (2002) like animals, is not in and of itself necessarily dehumanizing but rather depends on contextual factors (Haslam et al., 2011). There is continuity between Onesphore's goat metaphor and his exclamation that Burundian refugees had been treated as commercial goods-traded back and forth across borders without much say about their situation. ...
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The idea that “refugees are resources” has been promoted as countering the dehumanization that frames refugees as burdens or security threats. But is framing people as resources truly humanizing? Resource theorists have highlighted how modern Western conceptions of what resources are depends on a distinction between the human and the non-human. This logic is similar to, and originates in the same epoch as, hierarchies of humanity. State appraisal and management of human and mobility continue to be shaped by race and perceptions of productive value in terms, just as the value of resources varies, and has always been social and political. This intervention highlights the perspective of a Burundian refugee in Tanzania who traces continuities between experiences of encampment and forced return, and being called a resource—in that a resource can be sold or traded across borders with no input into its future. Refugees can and do meaningfully contribute to the communities and countries in which they live, but the “resources” lens curtails a truly humanizing perspective on refugees’ lives.
Preprint
Recentemente, l’attenzione degli studiosi sociali è stata attratta da una forma drammatica di discriminazione sociale caratterizzata dalla deprivazione o negazione dell’altrui umanità, la deumanizzazione. Sin dagli albori del suo studio, la deumanizzazione è stata trattata nella forma dell’animalizzazione, come inferiorizzazione dell’Altro e associazione, esplicita o implicita, di individui o interi gruppi sociali a forme di vita inferiori, animali, meno che umane. Questo contributo illustra le forme esplicite di animalizzazione, con attenzione particolare al ruolo del linguaggio nel comunicare una percezione inferiorizzante dell’Altro, e quelle più sottili, ma non meno gravide di conseguenze. Verrà sottolineata la pervasività del fenomeno trattando le sue conseguenze socio-cognitive e comportamentali ed evidenziando la possibilità di contrastare tali esiti.
Article
It is often taken more or less for granted that perpetrators of mass killings and other acts of violent atrocity dehumanise their victims in order to justify killing them. Drawing on the past decade of developments in psychological theories of dehumanisation, and on representations and explanations of killing provided by Islamic State, this paper argues for a more complex understanding of the role of notions about humanity and inhumanity in the legitimation of violence.
Article
Despite our many differences, one superordinate category we all belong to is ‘humans’. To strip away or overlook others’ humanity, then, is to mark them as ‘other’ and, typically, ‘less than’. We review growing evidence revealing how and why we subtly disregard the humanity of those around us. We then highlight new research suggesting that we continue to blatantly dehumanize certain groups, overtly likening them to animals, with important implications for intergroup hostility. We discuss advances in understanding the experience of being dehumanized and novel interventions to mitigate dehumanization, address the conceptual boundaries of dehumanization, and consider recent accounts challenging the importance of dehumanization and its role in intergroup violence. Finally, we present an agenda of outstanding questions to propel dehumanization research forward.
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In this moment of increasing social inequalities after the Great Recession, studying the psychological processes that contribute to maintaining such inequalities is an urgent task for scholars. These processes include specific social-class-member perceptions that function to make these disparities seemingly fair. In particular, stereotypes and dehumanizing images of low-status workers have become powerful means for perpetuating social disparities across history and cultures. In the present work, we aim to reveal the invariance of these images and their importance in maintaining the social hierarchies through an integrated approach that combines a historical perspective with an illustrative review of the empirical research. Further, we aim to show how the stigma of low-status work affects the workers’ self-view and may lead them to accept the status quo. We conclude by discussing the implications of this work for enriching the understanding of social-class divides and suggesting avenues for future research.
Article
Belonging to groups and relating to other groups are central parts of our lives, but they confront us with abstract ideas (e.g., identity and power) and nebulous feelings. To make sense of it all, people rely on conceptual metaphors: cognitive tools that ground abstractions in dissimilar, more concrete ideas that are easier to grasp. We review some common metaphors that people use in intergroup contexts—metaphors that draw on knowledge of such familiar experiences as physical cleansing and warmth sensations. We review evidence that these metaphors are not mere figures of speech, but have a systematic and practically important influence on intergroup attitudes and behavior. Most of this work shows that reliance on metaphor contributes to prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination, sometimes without the person's awareness. Yet we consider the hopeful possibility that citizens, politicians, and researchers can harness the power of metaphor to promote intergroup harmony and peace.
Article
Objective. The presented review aims to describe and critically analyze the two most popular approaches to understanding and operationalizing the concepts of “humanity” and “dehumanization” (Infrahumanization theory and Two-dimensional model of humanness). Background. The studies of prejudice has identified two key problems. The first problem is associated with the limitations of existing theories in understanding the nature of prejudices, and the second — with a low efficiency of assessing blatant prejudice since an increasing spread of egalitarian attitudes in the world changes the intergroup relations and contributes to a transformation of explicit prejudices into indirect forms. The theories and models of dehumanization has become the response to these problems since they offer a new conceptual framework for the analysis of intergroup and interpersonal relationships, and new methods for assessing indirect prejudice that are independent of a social desirability. Conclusions. The results of a theoretical analysis showed that in psychological studies, “humanity” is operationalized either through the unique human emotions and traits, the negation of which leads to the association between certain individuals or groups with animals and the emergence of animalistic dehumanization, or through a description of the “human” prototype, the discrepancy to which is associated with mechanistic dehumanization. Animalistic dehumanization is more common in the context of intergroup relations, and mechanistic dehumanization is more related to the processes of self-perception. Despite the contradictions between different approaches to understanding humanity and dehumanization, as well as some methodological problems within each of them, dehumanization is recognized as an important phenomenon which significantly enriches psychological knowledge and understanding of a process of social cognition and interaction.
Chapter
Using concrete examples, this chapter focuses on the communicative dimension of civil wars which manifests itself in and through the discursive dehumanisation of a fabricated internal enemy. Discursive dehumanisation occurs across the communicative spectrum of civil society and spans both the factual and fictional mass media as well as the visual and performative arts. Essentially, discursive dehumanisation is a weapon that targets and attempts to destroy civil peace and peaceful cooperation between members of civil society. Civil peace is defined as the communicative performance of the basic three categories of the civil norms of peaceful cooperation: (1) assent to civil peace, (2) substantive civility and (3) building capacity and civil competencies. The chapter concludes with an analysis of the damage done by discursive dehumanisation and the subsequent need for post-civil war peacebuilding to understand this type of weaponised form of communication as well as how it can be combatted.
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Journal of Pragmatics Volume 185, November 2021, Pages 54-72 Multimodal metaphor and (im)politeness in political cartoons: A sociocognitive approach Author links open overlay panelAhmedAbdel-Raheem https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2021.08.006 Get rights and content Highlights • This article considers whether the notion of (im)politeness can be usefully extended to political cartooning. • It investigates the relationship between (im)politeness or evaluation and multimodal metaphor. • It examines the kinds of multimodal impoliteness that constitute racially or religiously aggravated hate crime. Abstract The tradition in (im)politeness research so far has been to focus on oral corpora and sometimes on written texts, paying scant attention to multimodal texts such as political cartoons. Can political cartoons be taken as flagging the potential for impoliteness? Can (im)politeness notions be usefully extended to the genre of political cartooning, a genre that is particularly rich in multimodal metaphors? If the answer is yes, what types of impoliteness are there? Do political cartoons have features of both bivalent and trivalent politeness? Using a corpus of Egyptian cartoons and taking a sociocognitive perspective into consideration, this article, for the first time, discusses whether multimodal texts can be fruitful both for politeness and impoliteness studies and focuses on specific cartoon acts and their face-attacking or face-enhancing potential. In doing so, it also examines the kinds of multimodal impoliteness that constitute racially or religiously aggravated hate crime, with a special focus on racist, anti-Muslim discourse in the West. The results of this study show that a more general theory of political cartooning should go beyond the apparently simplistic notion of ‘critical cartoonist’ and deal with complex evaluative phenomena and attitudes, often also having a polarized structure (Us vs. Them).
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Women’s body dissatisfaction and shame has been found to increase in the premenstrual phase of the cycle and to be associated with premenstrual distress. However, the factors involved remain little understood. In the present study, 116 women completed an online survey including standardized measures of premenstrual distress, body shame, menstrual shame, and self-objectification, and open-ended questions about premenstrual embodiment. Eight participants completed a semi-structured interview. Significant positive correlations were found between premenstrual distress, body shame, and menstrual shame. Self-objectification was significantly negatively correlated with body shame. Thematic analysis identified internalization and resistance of unrealistic cultural constructions of feminine beauty, concealment of the body, and reduced engagement in body-management behaviors. The implications of the findings for understanding women’s premenstrual distress and embodiment are discussed.
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Viene analizzato un corpus di graffiti contenenti insulti fotografati nei locali del Dipartimento di Scienze Umanistiche (Catania) e della Sapienza (Roma) in due fasi: 2007-2010 e 2019. Emerge così che la diffusione alluvionale dei social media ha ridotto drasticamente la produzione di graffiti di ogni genere. Gli insulti, indizi importanti per ricostruire il sistema di valori di una comunità socioculturale, in quanto atti che attaccano la faccia del destinatario, si collocano nell’ambito della violenza verbale, in parziale sovrapposizione con altri atti violenti, da cui si cerca di differenziarli, come prevede la teoria del prototipo, sulla base di una serie di criteri (pragmatico-funzionale, formale e sequenziale). In relazione alla (s)cortesia verbale, gli insulti prototipici potrebbero considerarsi atti inerentemente scortesi, la cui formulazione mostra una chiara tendenza alla intensificazione a vari livelli. Viene quindi proposta una classificazione degli insulti convenzionalizzati del corpus, molti dei quali risultano da processi di metaforizzazione.
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A growing line of research focuses on users’ discussions on social networking sites regarding the causes and consequences of the Greek crisis, as well as on online impoliteness in polarised political debates. Following this trend, I set out to examine how vocatives meant to address non-present interactants (such as politicians or collectivised others) are employed by Greek Facebook and YouTube users to delegitimate their perceived political opponents and attribute blame for the country’s problematic politico-economic situation. I am focusing both on standardly impolite vocatives (personalised negative vocatives) and on superficially polite vocatives (vocatives of mock-endearment and mock-deference), examining their structure and purpose in comments discussing the critical period of the 2015 Greek referendum and subsequent elections. Findings suggest that users exploit norms of standardised politeness and cultural expectations within the Greek interactional context to denigrate their political opponents. Additionally, capitalising on salient discourses on the Greek crisis and on the Greek historical past, on the political content of their discussions, and on the affordances of social media, they take advantage of taboo themes typically associated with impoliteness to name the culprits behind the troublesome everyday Greek reality.
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Over (2021; this issue) proposes seven challenges to the body of psychological research and theory on dehu- manization that has flourished over the past two decades. As scholars who have contributed to this work, we believe her critique attacks an unrecognizable straw man that misinterprets its theoretical claims and ignores much of the empirical literature. Here we present seven arguments that clarify the role of dehumanization in social perception. These arguments do not align with Over’s challenges one-to-one but rebut them collectively.
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Research suggests that racial slurs may be “reclaimed” by the targeted group to convey affiliation rather than derogation. Although it is most common in intragroup uses (e.g., “nigga” by a Black individual toward another Black individual), intergroup examples of slur reappropriation (e.g., “nigga” by a Black individual toward a White individual) are also common. However, majority and minority group members’ perceptions of intergroup slur reappropriation remain untested. We examined White (Study 1) and Black (Study 2) individuals’ perceptions of the reappropriated terms, “nigga” and “nigger” compared to a control term chosen to be a non-race-related, neutral term (“buddy”), a non-racial derogative term (“asshole”) and a White racial slur (“cracker”) used by a Black individual toward a White individual. We found that the intergroup use of reappropriated slurs was perceived quite positively by both White and Black individuals. Our findings have important implications for research on intergroup relations and the reappropriation of slurs.
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This paper reports four series of studies that examined the infrahumanization effect using a different measure. Across the four studies, we examined whether people would associate their ingroup more with human- (vs. animal-) related words in comparison to outgroups. In Study 1, we used the Implicit Association Test (Greenwald et al., 1998) and found that participants were quicker during the compatible task (when ingroup names and human-related words shared the same response key and outgroup names and animal-related words shared the same response key) in comparison to the incompatible task. Studies 2a and 2b utilized a paper and pencil design and found that participants were more likely to link ingroup names with human-related words in comparison to the outgroup. In Studies 3a and 3b, we found that participants selected human-related words as being more characteristic of the ingroup in general than the outgroup. In Study 4, we used positive and negative words and found that participants were more likely to link human-related words with ingroup (vs. outgroup) names regardless of valence. Results are discussed in relation to their implications for infrahumanization theory.
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Recent writings have done much to develop and extend relevance theory as an account of metaphors and other “loose” language use. However, it is argued in this essay that relevance theory still leaves important gaps in its explanation and does not adequately address the “circularity” issue that has been raised. It is proposed that perceptual simulation theory usefully extends relevance theory by providing a detailed cognitive mechanism for the “broadening” and “narrowing” specified by relevance theory. Extending relevance theory to include the cognitive mechanisms posited by perceptual simulation theory also extends the reach of relevance theory and enhances its ability to explain previously unattended examples of metaphor, including metaphorical stories, strings of interacting metaphors, and humorous and playful distortions of metaphors.
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This study was an attempt to investigate the nature of metaphor by doing a cross-cultural comparison of metaphor in 2 typologically different languages-English and Persian. For this purpose, animal metaphors were taken for comparison. The "GREAT CHAIN OF BEING" metaphor (Lakoff & Turner, 1989), along with the principle of metaphorical highlighting (Kovecses, 2002), were used as a framework in comparing different aspects of animal metaphors as interpreted by native speakers of the 2 languages. The results showed that although animal metaphors in English and Persian are similar to a certain extent, many aspects of them are culture-specific. The similarities and differences among 44 animal metaphors in these 2 languages are shown and some possible explanations are put forward.
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The present research investigated the need to distinguish humans from animals and tested the hypothesis derived from terror management theory that this need stems in part from existential mortality concerns. Specifically, the authors suggest that being an animal is threatening because it reminds people of their vulnerability to death; therefore, reminding people of their mortality was hypothesized to increase the need to distance from animals. In support, Study 1 revealed that reminders of death led to an increased emotional reaction of disgust to body products and animals. Study 2 showed that compared to a control condition, mortality salience led to greater preference for an essay describing people as distinct from animals; and within the mortality salient condition but not the control condition, the essay emphasizing differences from other animals was preferred to the essay emphasizing similarities. The implications of these results for understanding why humans are so invested in beautifying their bodies and denying creaturely aspects of themselves are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In explaining differences between groups, people ascribe the human essence to their ingroup and consider outgroups as less human. This phenomenon, called infra-humanization, occurs outside people's awareness. Because secondary emotions (e.g. love, hope, contempt, resentment) are considered uniquely human emotions, people not only attribute more secondary emotions to their ingroup than to outgroups, but are reluctant to associate these emotions with outgroups. Moreover, people behave less cooperatively (in terms of altruism, imitation, and approach) with an outgroup member who expresses himself through secondary emotions. Infra-humanization occurs for high and low status groups, even in the absence of conflict between groups. It does not occur when the outgroup target is adequately individualized, by a complete name or through perspective taking, for instance. The differential familiarity with the ingroup and the outgroup cannot explain infra-humanization. Yet, preliminary results show that subjective essentialism and ingroup identification may mediate the effects of infra-humanization. A connection is made between nationalism and infra-humanization. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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The interpretation of metaphorical utterances often results in the attribution of emergent properties, which are neither standardly associated with the individual constituents in isolation nor derivable by standard rules of semantic composition. An adequate pragmatic account of metaphor interpretation must explain how these properties are derived. Using the framework of relevance theory, we propose a wholly inferential account, and argue that the derivation of emergent properties involves no special interpretive mechanisms not required for the interpretation of ordinary, literal utterances.
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This study is based on the Corpora of Animal Expressions in Mandarin Chinese and in German. I first apply Goddard's (1998) approach of semantic molecules to examine Cat expressions for the purpose of exploring the semantic interaction and the cultural backgrounds within the form of society. Various acts of speech in the form of animal expressions then reveal people's thoughts. The salient semantic molecules of cat are ‘weak’ in Mandarin Chinese and ‘weak, false, small, unimportant, flattering, quick, shrill’ in German; those of tiger are ‘powerful, courageous, fierce’ in Mandarin Chinese and ‘powerful, fierce’ in German. It is found that there is an interconnection and interaction between semantic molecules and these animal names serve as semantic contributors in distinct domains, e.g., cat for ‘woman’ in German. Furthermore, animal expressions demonstrate different mentalities as well as the Mandarin speakers’ group-centric and German speakers’ individualistic modes of thought.
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Previous work has examined the relative valence (positivity or negativity) of ethnophaulisms (ethnic slurs) targeting European immigrants to the United States. However, this relied on contemporary judgments made by American researchers. The present study examined valence judgments made by citizens from the countries examined in previous work. Citizens of 17 European nations who were fluent in English rated ethnophaulisms targeting their own group as well as ethnophaulisms targeting immigrants from England. American students rated ethnophaulisms for all 17 European nations, providing a comparison from members of the host society. Ratings made by the European judges were (a) consistent with those made by the American students and (b) internally consistent for raters’ own country and for the common target group of the English. Following discussion of relevant methodological issues, the authors examine the theoretical significance of their results.
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People typically evaluate their in-groups more favorably than out-groups and themselves more favorably than others. Research on infrahumanization also suggests a preferential attribution of the "human essence" to in-groups, independent of in-group favoritism. The authors propose a corresponding phenomenon in interpersonal comparisons: People attribute greater humanness to themselves than to others, independent of self-enhancement. Study 1 and a pilot study demonstrated 2 distinct understandings of humanness--traits representing human nature and those that are uniquely human--and showed that only the former traits are understood as inhering essences. In Study 2, participants rated themselves higher than their peers on human nature traits but not on uniquely human traits, independent of self-enhancement. Study 3 replicated this "self-humanization" effect and indicated that it is partially mediated by attribution of greater depth to self versus others. Study 4 replicated the effect experimentally. Thus, people perceive themselves to be more essentially human than others.
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Recent research has documented the intergroup sensitivity effect (ISE) whereby people respond more favorably to internal versus external criticism of their group. The present studies examine the reactions of bystanders who do not belong to the criticized group and whose reactions are therefore more likely to be informed by social conventions than by defensiveness. Studies 1 and 2 presented British participants with criticisms of Australians, manipulating their ostensible source. These British bystanders exhibited the ISE, responding more favorably to the speaker and comments when the critic was Australian rather than non-Australian. These responses were driven by the perceived motives of speakers rather than their level of experience with the group (Study 2). Study 3 provides direct evidence that internal criticism is more conventionally acceptable than is external criticism.
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The concept of dehumanization lacks a systematic theoretical basis, and research that addresses it has yet to be integrated. Manifestations and theories of dehumanization are reviewed, and a new model is developed. Two forms of dehumanization are proposed, involving the denial to others of 2 distinct senses of humanness: characteristics that are uniquely human and those that constitute human nature. Denying uniquely human attributes to others represents them as animal-like, and denying human nature to others represents them as objects or automata. Cognitive underpinnings of the "animalistic" and "mechanistic" forms of dehumanization are proposed. An expanded sense of dehumanization emerges, in which the phenomenon is not unitary, is not restricted to the intergroup context, and does not occur only under conditions of conflict or extreme negative evaluation. Instead, dehumanization becomes an everyday social phenomenon, rooted in ordinary social-cognitive processes.
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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.
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Anthropomorphism describes the tendency to imbue the real or imagined behavior of nonhuman agents with humanlike characteristics, motivations, intentions, or emotions. Although surprisingly common, anthropomorphism is not invariant. This article describes a theory to explain when people are likely to anthropomorphize and when they are not, focused on three psychological determinants--the accessibility and applicability of anthropocentric knowledge (elicited agent knowledge), the motivation to explain and understand the behavior of other agents (effectance motivation), and the desire for social contact and affiliation (sociality motivation). This theory predicts that people are more likely to anthropomorphize when anthropocentric knowledge is accessible and applicable, when motivated to be effective social agents, and when lacking a sense of social connection to other humans. These factors help to explain why anthropomorphism is so variable; organize diverse research; and offer testable predictions about dispositional, situational, developmental, and cultural influences on anthropomorphism. Discussion addresses extensions of this theory into the specific psychological processes underlying anthropomorphism, applications of this theory into robotics and human-computer interaction, and the insights offered by this theory into the inverse process of dehumanization.
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Social cognition is meant to examine the process of meaningful social interaction. Despite the central involvement of language in this process, language has not received the focal attention that it deserves. Conceptualizing meaningful social interaction as the process of construction and exchange of meaning, the authors argue that language can be productively construed as a semiotic tool, a tool for meaning making and exchange, and that language use can produce unintended consequences in its users. First, the article shows a particular instance of language use to be a collaborative process that influences the representation of meaning in the speaker, the listener, and the collective that includes both the speaker and listener. It then argues that language use and social cognition may have reciprocal effects in the long run and may have significant implications for generating and maintaining cultural differences in social cognition.
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Taboo words are defined and sanctioned by institutions of power (e.g., religion, media), and prohibitions are reiterated in child-rearing practices. Native speakers acquire folk knowledge of taboo words, but it lacks the complexity that psychological science requires for an understanding of swearing. Misperceptions persist in psychological science and in society at large about how frequently people swear or what it means when they do. Public recordings of taboo words establish the commonplace occurrence of swearing (ubiquity), although frequency data are not always appreciated in laboratory research. A set of 10 words that has remained stable over the past 20 years accounts for 80% of public swearing. Swearing is positively correlated with extraversion and Type A hostility but negatively correlated with agreeableness, conscientiousness, religiosity, and sexual anxiety. The uniquely human facility for swearing evolved and persists because taboo words can communicate emotion information (anger, frustration) more readily than nontaboo words, allowing speakers to achieve a variety of personal and social goals with them (utility). A neuro-psycho-social framework is offered to unify taboo word research. Suggestions for future research are offered. © 2009 Association for Psychological Science.
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The main purpose of swearing is to express emotions, especially anger and frustration. Swear words are well suited to express emotion as their primary meanings are connotative. The emotional impact of swearing depends on one's experience with a culture and its language conventions. A cognitive psychological framework is used to account for swearing in a variety of contexts and provide a link to impoliteness research. In support of this framework, native and non-native English-speaking college students rated the offensiveness and likelihood of hypothetical scenarios involving taboo words. The ratings demonstrated that appropriateness of swearing is highly contextually variable, dependent on speaker-listener relationship, socialphysical context, and particular word used. Additionally, offensiveness ratings were shown to depend on gender (for native speakers) and English experience (for non-native speakers). Collectively these data support the idea that it takes time for speakers to learn where, when, and with whom swearing is appropriate.
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"The authors restore metaphor to our lives by showing us that it's never gone away. We've merely been taught to talk as if it had: as though weather maps were more 'real' than the breath of autumn; as though, for that matter, Reason was really 'cool.' What we're saying whenever we say is a theme this book illumines for anyone attentive." -- Hugh Kenner, Johns Hopkins University "In this bold and powerful book, Lakoff and Turner continue their use of metaphor to show how our minds get hold of the world. They have achieved nothing less than a postmodern Understanding Poetry, a new way of reading and teaching that makes poetry again important." -- Norman Holland, University of Florida
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Individuals tend to associate uniquely human features, for example the fact of feeling secondary emotions, more to ingroup than to outgroup. However, little evidence exists for a direct linkbetween the concept of humankind and ingroup. In Study 1, participants were presented with pictures of humans and apes. Pictures were preceded by a supraliminal prime: names typical of ingroup versus outgroup. In Study 2, participants had to decide whether a string of letters represented a person name; names were typical of ingroup versus outgroup and preceded by a subliminal presentation of a human or monkey face. In both studies, faster latencies for human/ingroup than human/outgroup associations were found. An evaluative task confirmed no difference in valence between the human and animal face. Conclusions underline the importance of considering also the animal dimension in studying social cognition, and propose future avenues to identify variables shifting outgroup perception from infra- to dehumanization.
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This article examines the ideological implications of different interpretations of the statement "Humans are animals." It contrasts theories that regard humans as literally sophisticated animals with those who interpret the statement metaphorically. Sociobiological theories, bolstered by metaphors in the dictionary of English emphasize competitiveness and aggression as features shared by humans and nonhuman animals. Other theories emphasize symbiosis and cooperation. Some of these theories are prescriptive—metaphor patterns in English reflect the strong tendency to regard animal behavior as something for humans to avoid. Conversely, sociobiologists suggest it is natural and right to behave like animals, the naturalistic fallacy. Other cultural theories suggest that the statement is only metaphorical; our differences from animals are what make us most human. The article notes the tendency to metaphorically project the values and structures of current human society onto the animals being studied, serving the interest of those who, in power, benefit from the status quo.
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Presents a theory of sexism as ambivalence, not just hostility, toward women. Ambivalent Sexism Theory distinguishes between hostile and "benevolent" sexism (each addresses issues of power, gender differentiation, and sexuality). Benevolent sexism encompasses subjectively positive attitudes toward women in traditional roles: protective paternalism, idealization of women, and desire for intimate relations. Hostile sexism encompasses the negative equivalents on each dimension: dominative paternalism, derogatory beliefs, and heterosexual hostility. It is argued that both forms of sexism serve to justify and maintain patriarchy and traditional gender roles. The validity of a measure of these constructs, the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI), is reviewed. Comparisons are offered between the ASI and other frequently used scales of attitudes toward women, with suggestions for the proper domains of different scales. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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In discussing the theme of the anthropological aspects of taboo, the author argues that one can only arrive at semantically distinct verbal concepts by repressing the boundary concepts that lie between them. Particular emphasis is placed on the relation between animal connections and verbal obscenities (e.g., why "dog" and "fox" evoke taboo associations in their phonemic vicinity). Other issues discussed include the relation of edibility and social valuations of animals, cultural and linguistic determination of food values, and animal abuse and eating habits. Examples from the English language and from Kachin, a Tibeto-Burman language of northeast Burma, are presented. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Cognitive theories of metaphor understanding are typically described in terms of the mappings between different kinds of abstract, schematic, disembodied knowledge. My claim in this paper is that part of our ability to make sense of metaphorical language, both individual utterances and extended narratives, resides in the automatic construction of a simulation whereby we imagine performing the bodily actions referred to in the language. Thus, understanding metaphorical expressions like ‘grasp a concept’ or ‘get over’ an emotion involve simulating what it must be like to engage in these specific activities, even though these actions are, strictly speaking, impossible to physically perform. This process of building a simulation, one that is fundamentally embodied in being constrained by past and present bodily experiences, has specific consequences for how verbal metaphors are understood, and how cognitive scientists, more generally, characterize the nature of metaphorical language and thought.
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In this study terms of abuse are investigated in 11 different cultures. Spontaneous verbal aggression is to a certain extent reminiscent of the values of a certain culture. Almost 3000 subjects from Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Croatia, Poland, Great Britain, USA, Norway, Greece, and The Netherlands were asked to write down terms of abuse that they would use given a certain stimulus situation, and in addition, to give their rating of the offensive character of those terms. A total set of 12,000 expressions was collected. The frequencies of the expressions were established, and the total list of expressions was reduced to 16 categories. Results point to some etic taboos, like sexuality and lack of intelligence. On the other hand clear differences across cultures were found, which cannot easily be explained by existing classifications of national cultures. Explanations are provided in terms of dimensions on which the 11 cultures differ.
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In this article, I explore the main theoretical issues facing researchers in conversational humor today. In particular, I address (1) the structure of humorous discourse; (2) the forms of conversational humor: jokes, anecdotes, wordplay, irony; (3) the interpersonal functions of conversational humor: aggression versus rapport; (4) single-stage versus multi-stage processing of humor; and (5) the description of timing in word play and narrative jokes.
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People commonly ascribe lesser humanness to others than to themselves. Two senses of humanness appear to be involved: attributes that are unique to humans and those that constitute essential "human nature." Denying uniquely human and human-nature attributes to other people may implicitly liken them to animals and automata, respectively. In the present study, the go/no-go association task was used to assess implicit associations among social categories exemplifying the two senses of humanness, traits representing these senses, and the two types of nonhumans. Congruent associations (among artists, human-nature traits, and animals; among businesspeople, uniquely human traits, and automata) were consistently stronger than incongruent associations. Explicit ratings supported these differential associations. Social perception may involve two subtle ways of dehumanizing others.
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Three experiments were conducted examining group members' responses to criticism from ingroup and outgroup members. In Experiment I a, Australians read scripts of a person making either negative or positive comments about Australia. The speaker was identified as coming from either Australia (ingroup member) or another country (outgroup member). Responses indicated an intergroup sensitivity effect; that is, while ingroup criticisms were tolerated surprisingly well, outgroup criticisms were met with sensitivity and defensiveness. This pattern was replicated using the identity of,university student' (Experiment 1b). Experiment 2 demonstrated that the intergroup sensitivity effect is driven by perceptions that ingroup criticisms are seen to be more legitimate and more constructive than are outgroup criticisms. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for intragroup and intergroup relations. Copyright (C) 2002 John Wiley Sons, Ltd.
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So-called highly ‘evaluative’ personality judgments (e.g. describing someone as exceptional, odd, or vile,) are an integral component of people's daily judgments of themselves and others. However, little is known about the conceptual structure, psychological function, and personality-relevance of these kinds of attribution. Two studies were conducted to explore the internal (i.e. implicit) and external (i.e. self-report) structure of highly evaluative terms. Factor analyses of semantic-similarity sortings and self-reports on several representative samples of highly evaluative personality adjectives yielded internal and external structures that were very similar. Both types of structure included five dimensions representing distinction, worthlessness, depravity, unconventionality, and stupidity. The robustness of the uncovered dimensions across the two studies suggests that typically excluded highly evaluative personality terms, far from being behaviorally ambiguous and psychologically uninformative, allude to meaningful dispositions that people both implicitly understand and possess to different degrees. These findings also suggest that highly evaluative personality judgments are organized around the basic domains of morality (i.e. depravity), power (distinction and worthlessness), peculiarity (unconventionality), and intelligence (stupidity). We discuss the implications of our findings for the study of self- and other-esteem processes, personality perception, and the Big Seven factor model of personality. Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/35012/1/431_ftp.pdf
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Historically, traditional people have often been likened to animals and children. A study employing implicit social cognition methods examined whether these associations endure in a more subtle, implicit form. Consistent with colonial era portrayals of indigenous and other traditional people as 'primitives' or 'savages', participants continued to associate them with animal- and child-related stimuli more readily than people from modern, industrialized societies. In addition, traditional people were ascribed fewer uniquely human attributes than their modern counterparts. These findings, replicated with verbal and pictorial representations of the traditional/modern distinction, were independent of any positive or negative evaluation of traditional people. They imply that colonial 'images of savages' persist in contemporary western society as a cultural residue.
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The paper is concerned with the occurrence and the functions of nouns referring to animals in the context of similes and metaphors implementing the metaphoric scheme "Human is an Animal". These phraseological units are the result of repressing the boundary percepts lying between a Human and a Non-Human. The data (5500 entries) is excerpted from English, German, Czech, and Russian phraseological lexicons and texts. The paper deals with the following: classification of animals appearing in the data; the classes are defined as the cross-section between zones of social distance, e.g. relatives, servants, strangers, etc., and zones of physical distance, e.g. house, farm, remote, etc.; establishing indices of popularity of animals; discussion of Sus srofa (the pig) in terms of its symbolic values in Germanic and Slavic cultures. The functional analysis of animal nouns and their referents is supported by quantitative statements.
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Historical representations explicitly depicting Blacks as apelike have largely disappeared in the United States, yet a mental association between Blacks and apes remains. Here, the authors demonstrate that U.S. citizens implicitly associate Blacks and apes. In a series of laboratory studies, the authors reveal how this association influences study participants' basic cognitive processes and significantly alters their judgments in criminal justice contexts. Specifically, this Black-ape association alters visual perception and attention, and it increases endorsement of violence against Black suspects. In an archival study of actual criminal cases, the authors show that news articles written about Blacks who are convicted of capital crimes are more likely to contain ape-relevant language than news articles written about White convicts. Moreover, those who are implicitly portrayed as more apelike in these articles are more likely to be executed by the state than those who are not. The authors argue that examining the subtle persistence of specific historical representations such as these may not only enhance contemporary research on dehumanization, stereotyping, and implicit processes but also highlight common forms of discrimination that previously have gone unrecognized.