Political (Meta-)Dehumanization in Mental Representations: Divergent Emphases in the Minds of Liberals Versus Conservatives

Christopher D. Petsko*, Nour S. Kteily

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We conducted two reverse-correlation studies, as well as two pilot studies reported in the online supplement (total N = 1,411), on the topics of (a) whether liberals and conservatives differ in the types of dehumanization that they cognitively emphasize when mentally representing one another, and if so, (b) whether liberals and conservatives are sensitive to how they are represented in the minds of political outgroup members. Results suggest that partisans indeed differ in the types of dehumanization that they cognitively emphasize when mentally representing one another: whereas conservatives’ dehumanization of liberals emphasizes immaturity (vs. savagery), liberals’ dehumanization of conservatives more strongly emphasizes savagery (vs. immaturity). In addition, results suggest that partisans may be sensitive to how they are represented. That is, partisans’ meta-representations—their representations of how the outgroup represents the ingroup—appear to accurately index the relative emphases of these two dimensions in the minds of political outgroup members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • blatant dehumanization
  • meta-perception
  • political stereotyping
  • reverse correlation
  • social perception

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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