Author's School

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Author's Department/Program



English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Chair and Committee

Alan J. Lambert


Although dehumanization has been studied in a variety of conceptual and methodological paradigms, surprisingly little is known about the role of affect as a mediator of the dehumanization process. In this paper we propose and test a contempt-dehumanization model, which stipulates that, the effect of severe norm violations on dehumanization is indirect, as mediated by contempt: norm violation ! contempt ! dehumanization). Across three studies we provide consistent support for this model in the realm of extremely immoral acts committed by drug dealers who intentionally target young children: Experiments 1 and 3) as well as unscrupulous Wall Street businessmen who deliberately scam unsuspecting elderly investors: Experiment 2). We discuss the implications of our model for previous models of dehumanization.


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