Blaming, praising and protecting our humanity: The implications of everyday dehumanization for judgments of moral status
Bastian, Brock × Laham, Simon M. Wilson, Sam Haslam, Nick Koval, Peter #
British Psychological Society
British Journal of Social Psychology vol:50 issue:3 pages:469-483
Being human implies a particular moral status: having moral value, agency, and
responsibility. However, people are not seen as equally human. Across two studies,
we examine the consequences that subtle variations in the perceived humanness of
actors or groups have for their perceived moral status. Drawing on Haslam’s twodimensional
model of humanness and focusing on three ways people may be considered
to have moral status – moral patiency (value), agency, or responsibility – we demonstrate
that subtly denying humanness to others has implications for whether they are blamed,
praised, or considered worthy of moral concern and rehabilitation. Moreover, we show
that distinct human characteristics are linked to specific judgments of moral status.
This work demonstrates that everyday judgments of moral status are influenced by
perceptions of humanness.