Overcoming the “killing machine” military stereotype: evaluating strategies for humanizing the military and their implications for civilian support

Paterson, Rebecca (2012). Overcoming the “killing machine” military stereotype: evaluating strategies for humanizing the military and their implications for civilian support Honours Thesis, School of Psychology, The University of Queensland.

       
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Author Paterson, Rebecca
Thesis Title Overcoming the “killing machine” military stereotype: evaluating strategies for humanizing the military and their implications for civilian support
School, Centre or Institute School of Psychology
Institution The University of Queensland
Publication date 2012-10-10
Thesis type Honours Thesis
Supervisor Paul Bain
Total pages 59
Language eng
Subjects 1701 Psychology
Abstract/Summary The military performs a valuable service for the community, however stereotypes of the military dehumanize them as “killing machines” lacking basic characteristics of human nature. Previous research has shown that this dehumanization is associated with civilians showing lesser support for the military even though such support contributes to personnel wellbeing. The current study examines how to overcome dehumanizing stereotypes, increase support, and assess their wider consequences (e.g., reactions to military wrongdoing). Australian civilians (N=160) were assigned to one of three conditions: (i) Dehumanized (baseline), where military personnel were presented as lacking human nature compared to civilians; (ii) Rehumanized, where military personnel were presented as having similar human nature to civilians; and (iii) Explaining dehumanization, where military personnel were presented as lacking human nature compared to civilians, but this was largely attributed to training and role requirements. Only rehumanizing increased perceptions of the military’s humanness, however, explaining dehumanization was most effective in increasing support. Associations between attributing dehumanization to training and support may be mediated by civilian’s feeling greater responsibility for the welfare of military personnel and were assessed through mediation analysis but not identified. However further inspection of the relationship between rehumanizing and support revealed that collective responsibility had a suppressive effect. Evaluations of military wrongdoing were unaffected across conditions; explaining dehumanization did not make military wrongdoing more acceptable. These results show the most obvious strategy of addressing dehumanizing: rehumanizing the outgroup, may not be the most effective strategy, and helps identify effective ways to increase support for military personnel.
Keyword Dehumanization
Human nature
Military stereotype

 
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Created: Thu, 07 Mar 2013, 15:37:34 EST by Mrs Ann Lee on behalf of School of Psychology