Jeroen Vaes

Università degli Studi di Trento, Trient, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy

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Publications (44)67.51 Total impact

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    Paolo Riva · Marco Brambilla · Jeroen Vaes
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    ABSTRACT: Research on pain judgement has shown that several features of a target influence empathy for others' pain. Considering the pivotal role of morality in social judgement, we investigated whether judgements of others' social and physical suffering vary as a function of the target's moral status. Study 1 manipulated the moral characteristics of an unknown other and found that participants ascribed less social (but not physical) suffering to a target depicted as lacking moral status rather than to a target high in morality. Study 2 added a control condition in which no information about the target's moral qualities was provided, and showed that the effect of morality on social pain judgements was driven by the depiction of the target as lacking moral traits. Study 3 revealed the specific role of morality, as information on another evaluative dimension (i.e., competence) had no effects on pain judgements. Study 4 showed that social targets perceived as lacking moral qualities are thought to experience less social pain than highly moral targets because of their perceived lower level of humanity. Overall, our findings suggest that social (but not physical) pain might represent a capacity that is denied to social targets that are perceived low in morality. © 2015 The British Psychological Society.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2015 · British Journal of Social Psychology
  • Elisa Puvia · Jeroen Vaes
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    ABSTRACT: Recent findings show that women dehumanize their sexually objectified female counterparts. The present studies propose that women do so because they usually perceive them as promoters of an objectifying culture. Presented with a woman's testimony saying that she either promoted or was victimized by an objectifying culture or a neutral unrelated article, female participants associated sexually objectified female targets with uniquely human versus animal-related attributes. Results of Study 1 confirmed that, compared to the victim condition, female participants associated less humanness to sexually objectified female targets in both the promoter and the neutral condition. In Study 2, a moderated-mediation model confirmed that when the idea that all women are potential victims of objectification is activated, those women who include sexually objectified female targets in the overall gender category generalize their support for a female victim of objectification to these targets, and humanize them as a result. Overall, these results indicate that the meaning of the category of sexually objectified female targets (victims vs. promoters) is important in determining the human associations they will receive from other women.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale
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    ABSTRACT: Sexual objectification seeing or treating a person as a sexual object - has been the topic of considerable investigation. Building from along-standing recognition of the potential importance of culture in sexual objectification, this paper focuses on the extent to which people in different parts of the world objectify themselves and others. We explored sexual objectification amongst 588 people in seven diverse nations (i.e., Australia, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, the UK, and the USA). Participants completed standard measures of self- and other-objectification. The results revealed that culture did affect self- and other-objectification, with objectification emerging more robustly in Australia, Italy, the UK, and the USA than it did in India, Japan, and Pakistan. These findings help support theoretical claims that culture matters for sexual objectification. Future research directions are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Revue Internationale de Psychologie Sociale
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    Jeroen Vaes · Paul G Bain · Brock Bastian
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    ABSTRACT: People humanize their ingroup to address existential concerns about their mortality, but the reasons why they do so remain ambiguous. One explanation is that people humanize their ingroup to bolster their social identity in the face of their mortality. Alternatively, people might be motivated to see their ingroup as more uniquely human (UH) to distance themselves from their corporeal "animal" nature. These explanations were tested in Australia, where social identity is tied less to UH and more to human nature (HN) which does not distinguish humans from animals. Australians attributed more HN traits to the ingroup when mortality was salient, while the attribution of UH traits remained unchanged. This indicates that the mortality-buffering function of ingroup humanization lies in reinforcing the humanness of our social identity, rather than just distancing ourselves from our animal nature. Implications for (de)humanization in intergroup relations are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · The Journal of Social Psychology
  • Federica Meconi · Jeroen Vaes · Paola Sessa
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies on empathy toward other-race individuals demonstrate a preferential neural response to own-race members' pain. Based on the observation that existing studies, using different techniques, did not provide a convergent scenario on how implicit racial prejudice relate to empathy in cross-racial contexts, in the current commentary we claim that future efforts in this domain should distinguish between processes of racial prejudice and racial stereotypes. These concepts have been differentiated in social psychology, and two independent measures have been provided to assess them. We propose that these aspects should be taken into further consideration in future studies to fully understand the social neuroscience of empathy in cross-racial contexts.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2014 · Social Neuroscience
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    ABSTRACT: By taking advantage of the Italian protest in 2009 in reaction to the behaviour of then Prime Minister Berlusconi, in this research, we investigated the role of sexist beliefs (i.e., hostile sexism, complementary gender differentiation, protective paternalism, and heterosexual intimacy) and group-based emotional reactions (i.e., anger, humiliation, and sadness) to women's and men's action mobilization against public forms of sexism. The findings of this study suggest that women and men engaged in this protest for different reasons. Women mobilized to express their anger at Berlusconi's sexist behaviour, an emotion related to the condemnation of hostile sexist views and benevolent sexist beliefs about heterosexual intimacy. In contrast, the strength of men's participation in the protest was affected by humiliation, an emotion related to the condemnation of hostile sexist beliefs and support for complementary gender differentiation. This emotional path suggests that men likely protested to restore their reputations. These findings underline the role of sexist beliefs and group-based emotions in transforming the condemnation of a sexist event into action mobilization against sexism for both women and men.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · British Journal of Social Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: The study of humanness as a dimension of social judgment has received extensive attention over the past decade. While the common reported finding is that people attribute more human characteristics to their ingroup than to the outgroup, similar tendencies are expected to be tempered for minority groups when judging the host society. In Study 1, carried out with Gypsy minority members, we tested the hypothesis that those group members who adopt an assimilative strategy identifying more with the host compared to the heritage culture will display the lowest levels of dehumanisation. In Study 2 and 3, conducted with immigrants in Italy and in Portugal respectively, the hypothesis was extended from an identification conceptualization to an acculturation one. Despite significant variability in intergroup settings and measures, results confirmed our hypothesis that immigrants who choose to assimilate with the host culture dehumanize the outgroup less compared to those who adopt any of the other acculturation strategies. Implications for the ethnocentric nature of dehumanisation biases and for intergroup relations in general are discussed.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014 · European Journal of Social Psychology
  • Jeroen Vaes · Steve Loughnan · Elisa Puvia

    No preview · Article · Jan 2013
  • Source
    Elisa Puvia · Jeroen Vaes
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    ABSTRACT: When sexually objectified, women are reduced to their bodies or sexual body parts and become likely targets of dehumanization. Not only men, but also women engage in this process. In the present research, we tested the link between women's appearance related self-views and their tendency to dehumanize sexually objectified female targets. Specifically, we test two mediational models and predict that (1) women's motivation to look attractive to men and (2) their tendency to internalize the sociocultural beauty stand-ards are linked with the dehumanization of sexually objec-tified female targets, and their level of self-objectification mediates both relations. To test these hypotheses, a sample of 55 heterosexual undergraduate female students from Northern Italy volunteered. Participants' motivation to look attractive to men, their level of internalization of the sociocultural beauty standards, and their tendency to self-objectify was measured. Results confirmed that only sexually objectified female targets were significantly dehumanized, while their non-objectified counterparts were not. Moreover, both participants' motivation to look attractive to men and their tendency to internalize the sociocultural beauty standards were positively linked with the dehumanization of sexually objectified female targets. As expected, these relations were mediated by participants' level of self-objectification. These results show that higher levels of self-objectification among those women who are motivated either to look attractive to men or to internalize the sociocultural beauty standards are linked with their tendency to dehumanize sexually objectified female targets.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · Sex Roles
  • Jeroen Vaes · Martina Muratore
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    ABSTRACT: Health care workers are often required to consider the emotions of their patients making their work susceptible for burnout. Extending recent developments in work on dehumanization, the present study tested whether or not considering a patient's suffering in terms of uniquely human compared to more basic emotions, would be linked with burnout especially for those health care workers that frequently encounter emotional demands through their contact with suffering patients. Professional health care workers were presented with the fictitious case of a terminal patient and asked to infer her emotional state in terms of uniquely human or basic, primary emotions. As expected, humanizing a patient's suffering positively predicted symptoms of burnout especially for those participants that had higher levels of direct contact with patients.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2012 · British Journal of Social Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: The malleability of the infrahumanization bias was tested varying the physical context in which the ingroup and the outgroup target were assessed. Using a sequential priming paradigm, Study 1 replicated the infrahumanization bias in a neutral context. Study 2 tested the hypothesis that there are contextual variations in infrahumanization. Specifically, Black targets were infrahumanized in a context familiar to White participants, and not in an unfamiliar context. Study 3 revealed that participants’ threat perceptions were reduced when ingroup targets appeared in familiar context, compared to Black targets. Theoretical implications for the infrahumanization bias are discussed.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Basic and Applied Social Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Mostly invigorated by infrahumanisation theory, our knowledge on processes of dehumanisation in intergroup relations has grown considerably in the last decade. Building on these earlier endeavours, the present chapter reviews some recent empirical extensions that highlight the importance of differentiating between ingroup humanisation and outgroup dehumanisation because they are often moderated by specific variables. The role of these separate processes is discussed as a function of the main structural elements that define intergroup behaviour; that is, the defining boundaries of the groups, the relation between the groups at hand, and the ideologies of its members. Finally, the role of the different senses of humanness is discussed, suggesting that the folk conception of humanness differs between cultures.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · European Review of Social Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: The present research explores cultural understandings of what it means to be human. We used open-ended responses to examine whether the most culturally salient aspects of humanness are captured by two theoretical dimensions: human uniqueness (HU) and human nature (HN). Australians, Italians, and Chinese (N = 315) showed differences in the characteristics considered human and in the emphasis placed on HU and HN. These findings contribute to developing cross-cultural folk psychological models of humanness.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
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    Marcella Latrofa · Jeroen Vaes · Mara Cadinu
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    ABSTRACT: Self-stereotyping is a process by which people belonging to a stigmatized social group tend to describe themselves more with stereotypical traits as compared with traits irrelevant to the ingroup stereotype. The present work analyzes why especially members of low-status groups are more inclined to self-stereotype compared to members of high-status groups. We tested the hypothesis that belonging to a low-, rather than a high-status group, makes low-status members feel more threatened and motivates them to protect their self-perception by increasing their similarity with the ingroup. Specifically, we investigated the effects of an experimental manipulation that was conceived to either threaten or protect the natural group membership of participants from either a low- or a high-status group on the level of self-stereotyping. The findings supported the idea that only low-status group members protected themselves when their group identity was threatened through increased self-stereotyping.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012 · The Journal of Social Psychology
  • Jeroen Vaes · Paola Paladino · Elisa Puvia
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    ABSTRACT: Focusing on the dehumanization of sexually objectified targets, study 1 tested the extent to which objectified and non-objectified male and female publicity photos were associated with human compared to animal concepts. Results confirmed the hypothesis that, among all targets, only objectified women were associated with less human concepts. This pattern of results emerged for both male and female participants but likely for different reasons. Study 2 directly looked at female and male participants' affinity with sexually objectified women. Results indicated that the more women distanced themselves from sexually objectified women the more they dehumanized them, whereas men's sexual attraction moderated their tendency to dehumanize female targets. In study 3, this latter motivation was operationalized as the activation of a sex goal and showed to trigger man's but not woman's dehumanization of female targets. Overall, the present set of studies show that only sexually objectified women are dehumanized by both men and women but for different reasons. Whereas sexual attraction shifts a men's focus of a female target away from her personality onto her body triggering a dehumanization process, women are more inclined to dehumanize their sexually objectified counterparts the more they distance themselves from these sexualized representations of their gender category. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2011 · European Journal of Social Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Studies on infra-humanization have confirmed a greater attribu-tion of secondary emotions to the ingroup than to outgroups, independ-ently of the valence of these emotions. However, the variables leading to the choice of which outgroups are likely to be infra-humanized have re-ceived limited attention in the literature. This study is concerned with de-termining some of the relevant variables within the intergroup domain that may elicit this type of prejudice. The roles of similarity, intergroup friendship, knowledge of the outgroup, and status are analyzed with re-spect to the humanization of outgroups throughout the world. Results verify that not all outgroups are equally humanized. A second finding re-veals that intergroup similarity, friendship, and knowledge of the out-groups increase the attribution of secondary emotions towards them, while status, as expected, is not related with outgroup humanization.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2011 · Anales de Psicología
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    ABSTRACT: People's self-perception biases often lead them to see themselves as better than the average person (a phenomenon known as self-enhancement). This bias varies across cultures, and variations are typically explained using cultural variables, such as individualism versus collectivism. We propose that socioeconomic differences among societies--specifically, relative levels of economic inequality--play an important but unrecognized role in how people evaluate themselves. Evidence for self-enhancement was found in 15 diverse nations, but the magnitude of the bias varied. Greater self-enhancement was found in societies with more income inequality, and income inequality predicted cross-cultural differences in self-enhancement better than did individualism/collectivism. These results indicate that macrosocial differences in the distribution of economic goods are linked to microsocial processes of perceiving the self.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Psychological Science
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    ABSTRACT: The present work directly tests the persuasive potential of emotions in political slogans. Previous research that distinguished emotions on the human dimension found that individuals conform differently to the opinion of members of the in-group or the out-group when these targets expressed themselves in terms of uniquely human emotions (Vaes, Paladino, Castelli, Leyens, & Giovanazzi, 200331. Vaes , J. , Paladino , M. P. , Castelli , L. , Leyens , J-Ph. and Giovanazzi , A. 2003. On the behavioral consequences of infrahumanization: The implicit role of uniquely human emotions. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85: 1016–1034. [CrossRef], [PubMed], [Web of Science ®]View all references). In line with these findings, the present experiment tested the hypothesis that political slogans that express a uniquely human emotion and that are associated with the campaign of a political candidate who has the same political affiliation as participants (i.e., in-group) will induce more conformity reactions than a candidate of the opposing coalition (i.e., out-group) who presents similar kinds of slogans. Results confirmed this hypothesis on a subtle conformity measure and are discussed as a consequence of an infrahumanization process. Finally, possible applications of the presented findings and new avenues for future research are proposed.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2011 · The Journal of Social Psychology
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    ABSTRACT: Estudios sobre infrahumanización han confirmado que existe una mayor atribución de sentimientos al endogrupo que al exogrupo independientemente de la valencia de estas emociones. Sin embargo, las variables que conducen a la elección de qué exogrupos pueden ser infrahumanizados han recibido escasa atención. A través de este estudio se pretende determinar algunas de las variables relevantes en el dominio intergrupal que puedan provocar este tipo de prejuicio. El efecto de la similitud, amistad intergrupal, conocimiento del exogrupo y estatus se analizan en relación con la humanización de exogrupos de todo el mundo. Los resultados verificaron que no todos los exogrupos son igualmente humanizados. Un segundo hallazgo reveló que la similitud entre los grupos, la amistad y el conocimiento de los exogrupos incrementa la atribución de sentimientos hacia estos, mientras que el estatus no está relacionado con la humanización del exogrupo.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2011 · Anales de Psicología
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    ABSTRACT: New products have an emotional impact on their users and observing bystanders. This is especially true for protective and bodily near products, such as dust masks. Our research started from the hypothesis that reactions to dust masks are generally negative and that people have a spontaneous avoidance reaction. Not only the thoughtful and deliberative reactions, but also the initial unconscious and involuntary reactions, can be very confronting and emotionally challenging towards the stigmatized person. This experimental study aims to test whether the generic distinction between models without dust masks and models with dust masks is sufficient to trigger elementary motor tendencies associated with approach and avoidance, which could serve as an indicator for the product acceptance process. A questionnaire was presented to compare participants' test reactions with their rational and explicit responses. The approach versus avoidance measurements showed a faster approach towards the mask stimuli. Although this result is in contrast with our initial expectations, and to a certain extent with the explicit judgments that were recorded, the results between the different mask-types did provide valuable information. Once we manage to improve our control over the intervening variables, we believe that designers can strongly benefit from this simple and straightforward experimental approach.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Oct 2010

Publication Stats

1k Citations
67.51 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2015
    • Università degli Studi di Trento
      Trient, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy
  • 2003-2014
    • University of Padova
      • Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
  • 2000-2003
    • Catholic University of Louvain
      • Psychological Sciences Research Institute
      Walloon Region, Belgium
  • 2002
    • University of Leuven
      Louvain, Flanders, Belgium