Publications by topic

Three Interventions to Reduce Intergroup Conflict and Discrimination:

Changing Meta-Perceptions

Intergroup Contact Reduces Dehumanization and Meta-Dehumanization: Cross-Sectional, Longitudinal, and Quasi-Experimental Evidence From 16 Samples in Five Countries

Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (2020)

Emile Bruneau, Boaz Hameiri, Samantha L. Moore-Berg, and Nour Kteily


In 16 independent samples from five countries involving ~7,700 participants, we employ a mixture of cross-sectional, longitudinal, and quasi-experimental methods to examine the effect of intergroup contact on (a) the blatant dehumanization of outgroups, and (b) the perception that outgroup members dehumanize the ingroup (meta-dehumanization). First, we conduct a meta-analysis across 12 survey samples collected from five countries regarding eight different target groups (total N = 5,388) and find a consistent effect of contact quality on dehumanization and meta-dehumanization. Second, we use a large longitudinal sample of American participants (N = 1,103) to show that quality of contact with Muslims at Time 1 predicts dehumanization of Muslims and meta-dehumanization 6 months later. Finally, we show that sustained semester-long “virtual contact” between American and Muslim college students is associated with reduced American students’ (N = 487) dehumanization of, and perceived dehumanization by, Muslims.

They See Us as Less Than Human: Meta Dehumanization Predicts Intergroup Conflict via Reciprocal Dehumanization

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2016

Nour Kteily, Gordon Hodson, Emile Bruneau


Although the act of dehumanizing an outgroup is a pervasive and potent intergroup process that drives discrimination and conflict, no formal research has examined the consequences of being dehumanized by an outgroup—that is, “metadehumanization.” Across 10 studies (N = 3,440) involving several real-world conflicts spanning 3 continents, we provide the first empirical evidence that meta dehumanization (a) plays a central role in outgroup aggression that is (b) mediated by outgroup dehumanization, and (c) distinct from meta prejudice. Studies 1a and 1b demonstrate experimentally that Americans who learn that Arabs (Study 1a) or Muslims (Study 1b) blatantly dehumanize Americans are more likely to dehumanize that outgroup in return; by contrast, experimentally increasing outgroup dehumanization did not increase meta dehumanization (Study 1c). Using correlational data, Study 2 documents indirect effects of metadehumanization on Americans’ support for aggressive policies toward Arabs (e.g., torture) via Arab dehumanization. In the context of Hungarians and ethnic minority Roma, Study 3 shows that the pathway for Hungarians from metadehumanization to aggression through outgroup dehumanization holds controlling for outgroup prejudice. Study 4 examines Israelis’ metaperceptions with respect to Palestinians, showing that: (a) feeling dehumanized (i.e., meta dehumanization) is distinct from feeling disliked (i.e., meta prejudice), and (b) meta dehumanization uniquely influences aggression through outgroup dehumanization, controlling for meta prejudice. Studies 5a and 5b explore Americans’ metaperceptions regarding ISIS and Iran. We document a dehumanization-specific pathway from metadehumanization to aggressive attitudes and behavior that is distinct from the path from meta prejudice through prejudice to aggression. In Study 6, American participants learning that Muslims humanize Americans (i.e., metahumanization) humanize Muslims in turn. Finally, Study 7 experimentally contrasts meta dehumanization and metahumanization primes, and shows that resulting differences in outgroup dehumanization are mediated by (a) perceived identity threat, and (b) a general desire to reciprocate the outgroup’s perceptions of the ingroup. In summary, our research outlines how and why meta dehumanization contributes to cycles of ongoing violence and animosity, providing direction for future research and policy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved).