Ragged University Presents The Psychology of Dehumanization by Alex Dunedin
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Title of talk:
The Psychology of Dehumanization by Alex Dunedin
Bullet points of what you would like to talk about:
- How marginalized groups such as the homeless, the poor and those dealing with addiction are dehumanized
- The Lesser Minds problem: the subtle dehumanization of others
- How direct access to your own mind makes your experience more human than others
- How experiencing the effects of your own actions makes your experience more human than others
- How different perspectives can be related to as lesser or inaccurate because they are not directly experienced
- How dehumanization processes do not require conflict or disagreement
- How dehumanization psychology does not necessarily involve self aggrandizement
- How we can often dehumanize our future selves
- How motivations for accuracy, behavioural prediction and social connection humanize people
- Not all acts of dehumanization are driven by antipathy but rather by apathy
A few paragraphs on your subject:
How much we relate to others as human defines how we interact with the social world and what opportunities are conferred on us. How human we appear in the eyes of others dictates how we will be treated. When people are stripped of being perceived as human hurt and harm is visited upon them. At the extreme end of dehumanization behaviours we find the unspeakable atrocities of genocide where groups of people have been devalued.
Our understanding of how people are devalued and stripped of the characteristics which allow us to empathise with them has accumulated over the last century, particularly with the advance of psychological and sociological techniques. Where it is comfortable to think that we are immune from dehumanizing others, the truth is more complex and more challenging. Evidence shows that we don’t necessarily have to hold any prejudice against an individual or a group to dehumanize them, we just need to not engage in relating to them.
Prejudices take root in apathies, and it seems that simple apathy can be enough to manifest behaviours which dementalize and depersonalize individuals. The psychology of dehumanization is related to how we encounter the world through our experience and our senses. Sometimes it takes as little as a question to cause someone to completely re-adjust their perception of a group of people. This is very positive when we think of the worrying things which can come about if such ignorance is left unchecked.
A few paragraphs about you:
I have been fascinated by psychology for many years and since a child have been intrigued by the idiosyncratic behaviours which I have witnessed when people have perceived me as a label. Growing up with dyslexia has afforded me an opportunity to see firsthand how sometimes, when people are not thinking or relating to me, their behaviour towards me can treat me as less than human. I have seen this with intelligent people from all sorts of backgrounds, and I think that understanding how people are dehumanized and dementalized is a very important thing to do.
I greatly enjoy learning and education, taking time to develop understandings whenever I can. The exploration of psychology is not only helpful in my rationalizing how I have encountered the world but also in making me a better person. My study of the psychology of dehumanization has challenged the simplistic ways of seeing which I have sometimes had, as well as helping me challenge the simplistic ways that others perceive me.
What free internet knowledge resources would you recommend to others if they wish to explore your chosen theme further?
- The Lesser Minds Problem by Adam Waytz, Juliana Schroeder & Nicholas Epley:faculty.haas.berkeley.edu/jschroeder/Publications/WaytzSchroederEpley2014.pdf
- What Constitutes Torture? Psychological Impediments to an Objective Evaluation of Enhanced Interrogation Tactics:http://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/sds/docs/loewenstein/WhatConstitutesTorture.pdf
- The BIAS Map; Behaviors From Intergroup Affect and Stereotypes by Amy J. C. Cuddy, Susan T. Fiske, & Peter Glick:http://www.people.hbs.edu/acuddy/2007,%20cuddy,%20fiske,%20&%20glick,%20JPSP.pdf
- Infrahumanization or Familiarity? Attribution of Uniquely Human Emotions to the Self, the Ingroup, and the Outgroup by Brezo P. Cortes, Stéphanie Demoulin, Ramon T. Rodriguez, Armando P. Rodriguez and Jacques-Philippe Leyens:http://armandorodriguez.es/armando/Articulos/archivos/CortesDemoulinRPerezRTorresLeyens2005.pdf
- Dehumanization; An Integrative Review by Nick Haslam:https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/778f/6c509c7b9d56a3495a3067281733d2cd5814.pdf
- Behavioral Economics View of Poverty by Marianne Bertrand, Sendhil Mu llainathan, and Eldar Shafi:https://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/2907437/behav%20econ%20poverty.pdf?sequence=2
What are your weblinks?
Website – www.raggeduniversity.co.uk
Twitter – @ragged talks
Facebook – raggeduniversity
Public Email – firstname.lastname@example.org