Embracing humanity in the face of death: Why do existential concerns moderate ingroup humanization?

Vaes, Jeroen, Bain, Paul G., & Bastian, Brock (2014) Embracing humanity in the face of death: Why do existential concerns moderate ingroup humanization? The Journal of Social Psychology, 154(6), pp. 537-545.

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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.

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ID Code: 82766
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: human nature, human uniqueness, ingroup humanization, mortality salience
DOI: 10.1080/00224545.2014.953027
ISSN: 0022-4545
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Deposited On: 01 Apr 2015 23:08
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2015 23:09

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