Less than us: Are people hardwired to dehumanize others?

People can be quick to dehumanise others (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being able to quickly assess whether someone is friend or foe has traditionally been helpful in times of war or conflict. But there is also a very ugly side to rushing to judge others. Prejudice, especially for those who are on the receiving end, is an incredibly dehumanising experience — to be dismissed by another person takes away from us our sense of individual human worth. But what does it mean to be dehumanised, and how or why are people capable of dehumanising others? Also, how aware are we of the snap judgments that we make about other people, and can we control the biases we have?

Social psychologist Prof Nick Haslam and I discuss what it means to be dehumanised, and how people are capable of viewing and treating their fellow human beings as less than themselves on this episode of Up Close.

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