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Dehumanization and Violence in Relationships

Blatant Dehumanization and Its Implications

Wars are not destructive only for their participants and not merely for their contemporaries. The aftermath of wars is present in many future generations. Over the centuries, there have been numerous modifications of ideological, technological, and psychological aspects of warfare. One of the most detrimental outcomes of war is dehumanization. The evolution of this ruinous process has changed the military men’s tactics from dehumanizing the rivals to dehumanizing their armies with the help of technology. One of the kinds of dehumanization is blatant dehumanization, which has the power to foresee the support for violent actions.

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Kteily, N., Bruneau, E., Waytz, A., & Cotterill, S. (2015). The ascent of man: Theoretical and empirical evidence for blatant dehumanization. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 109(5), 901-931.

In their article, Kteily, Bruneau, Waytz, and Cotterill (2015) analyze dehumanization as the core concept of investigating intergroup relationships. The authors differentiate between “subtle” and “blatant” dehumanization (901). Kteily et al. emphasize the significance of concentrating on blatant dehumanization (BD) in studying its impact on subtle dehumanization. As a result of two studies, the authors found out that BD is more closely linked to individual divergences in hierarchical support than implicit (subtle) dehumanization. Additionally, Kteily et al. conclude that BD is predictive of many substantial beliefs and patterns of conduct towards numerous out-group aims. The authors mention that BD “is not only exacerbated by low status but is, in fact, dependent on it” (925).

The article by Kteily et al. helped me deepen my knowledge about the implications of dehumanization. It presents valuable material on specific types of dehumanization – subtle and blatant. The authors have performed thorough research and produced significant results. The article enriched my understanding of human behavioral patterns and the outcomes to which they may lead. I agree with the article in that people’s dehumanization patterns are delineated by many factors, and the investigation of these factors may help to avert this destructive process.

Dehumanization is an Inclination Factor to Torturing the War Prisoners

One of the most dramatic outcomes of dehumanization is the predisposition to violence and torture. Due to modern technologies, the soldiers frequently do not have to see the people they are killing (for example, through bombing and other types of destruction). Dehumanization plays a significant role in the genocide, war, and torture.

Viki, G. T., Osgood, D., & Phillips, S. (2013). Dehumanization and self-reported proclivity to torture prisoners of war. Journal of Experimental Psychology, 49(3), 325-328.

In their research, Viki, Osgood, and Phillips (2013) investigate the question of the capability of dehumanization to develop people’s inclination to torture those who do not belong to their group. The results of dehumanization, as concluded by Viki et al., are that people are less apt to provide help and sympathy to the out-group members. The authors single out two types of dehumanization: “animalistic” and “mechanistic” (p. 325). Viki et al. performed research in which the Christians were the participants and the Muslims – the target group. The participants were required to look at four photographs of torture from prison and say how they would have behaved in a similar situation. The results showed that the participants were more willing to torture Muslim prisoners “in the low-humanity conditions” (p. 326). The authors remark that dehumanization may be a “psychological mechanism,” which may impact the willingness to torture the out-group members (p. 327).

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I agree with the authors’ opinion that dehumanization can produce a dramatic impact on people’s psychological proclivity to express violence. The article reveals some crucial aspects of dehumanization. It was useful to get acquainted with the results of Viki et al.’s research as it enhanced my understanding of the problem.

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