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Ours is human: On the pervasiveness of infra-humanization in intergroup relations


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Maria-Paola Paladino, Department of Cognitive Science and Education, University of Trento, Rovereto 38068, Italy (e-mail:


Both at a conceptual and an empirical level, infra-humanization has been put on par with the relative greater attribution of uniquely human emotions to the in-group, assuming that a group's humanity is exclusively a matter of having uniquely human characteristics. In the present research we suggest that people also adopt another strategy to infra-humanize the out-group by considering those aspects that characterize and differentiate the in-group from the out-group as more uniquely human. In three studies, characteristics presented as typical of the in-group and the out-group were judged on a not uniquely human–uniquely human dimension. In addition to humanity, in Study 3 participants judged in-group and out-group characteristics also on an evaluative dimension. Consistent with the hypothesis, participants judged in-group characteristics as more human than those of the out-group, independent of their valence. The implications of these results for infra-humanization theory are discussed.