14 de febrero de 2015


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

The denial of full humanness to others, and the cruelty and suffering that accompany it, is an all-too-familiar phenomenon. However, the concept of dehumanization has rarely received systematic theoreticaltreatment. In social psychology, it has attracted only
scattered attention. In this article, I review the many domains in which dehumanization appears in recent scholarship and present the main theoretical perspectives that have been developed. I argue that a theoretically adequate concept of dehumanization requires a clear understanding of “humanness”—the quality that is denied to others when they are dehumanized—and that most theoretical approaches have failed to specify
one. Two distinct senses of humanness are proposed,and empirical research establishing that they are different in composition, correlates, and conceptual bases is presented. I introduce a new theoretical model, in which two forms of dehumanization corresponding to the denial of the two forms of humanness are proposed, and I discuss their distinct psychological foundations.
    The new model broadens the scope of dehumanization in a number of important respects and overcomes some limitations of previous work. In particular, I propose that dehumanization is an important phenomenon in interpersonal as well as intergroup contexts, occurs outside the domains of violence and conflict, and has social–cognitive dimensions in addition to the motivational determinants that are usually emphasized.


The concept of dehumanization features promi-
nently in writings on modern medicine, which is said to dehumanize patients with its lack of personal care and emotional support; its reliance on technology; its lack of touch and human warmth; its emphasis on instrumental
efficiency and standardization, to the neglect of the patient’s individuality; its related neglect of the patient’s subjective experience in favor of objective, technologically mediated information; and its emphasis on interventions performed on a passive individual whose agency and autonomy are neglected. This form of dehumanization has been described as “objectification” and
as “the denial of qualities associated with meaning, interest, and compassion” (Barnard, 2001, p. 98). Similar concerns are raised in critiques of psychiatric practice (Fink, 1982). Szasz (1973) argued that biological psy-
chiatry’s deterministic explanations and coercive treatments relieve individuals of their autonomy and moral agency. According to Szasz, psychiatric classification is equally dehumanizing, involving a “mechanomorphic” style of thinking that “thingifies” persons and treats them as “defective machine[s]” (p. 200). Dehumanization is also presented in the medical context as a mecha-
nism that doctors use to cope with the empathic distress that attends working with the dying (Schulman-Green,2003).

Fuente:  http://psr.sagepub.com/content/10/3/252.short