How to Be Less Human

The title of this documentary is quite revealing. It explores the prejudices that Americans hold against other cultures. A psychologist, Adam Waytz, collaborated with Kteily to devise a new measure of dehumanization. The new study involved white Americans watching an image of our evolutionary ancestor learning to stand. The participants rated the different groups on their similarities and differences. The researchers say that these results have implications for our everyday life, especially when faced with the challenges that society poses.

People who commit acts of dishonesty tend to attribute less human traits to themselves. However, when people commit acts of honesty, they attribute more human traits to themselves. This pattern may have negative consequences for our own morality. As Kouchaki and her colleagues found, self-dehumanization may lead to unethical behaviors. However, they also noted that their subjects’ attitudes towards other people are often negatively affected by these beliefs, making them less ethical.