Losing our humanity: the self-dehumanizing consequences of social ostracism

Bastian, Brock, Jetten, Jolanda, Chen, Hannah, Radke, Helena R. M., Harding, Jessica F. and Fasoli, Fabio (2013) Losing our humanity: the self-dehumanizing consequences of social ostracism. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 39 2: 156-169. doi:10.1177/0146167212471205

Author Bastian, Brock
Jetten, Jolanda
Chen, Hannah
Radke, Helena R. M.
Harding, Jessica F.
Fasoli, Fabio
Title Losing our humanity: the self-dehumanizing consequences of social ostracism
Journal name Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0146-1672
Publication date 2013-02-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0146167212471205
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 39
Issue 2
Start page 156
End page 169
Total pages 14
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
Publisher Sage
Language eng
Subject 3207 Social Psychology
Abstract People not only dehumanize others, they also dehumanize the self in response to their own harmful behavior. We examine this self-dehumanization effect across four studies. Studies 1 and 2 show that when participants are perpetrators of social ostracism, they view themselves as less human compared with when they engage in nonaversive interpersonal interactions. Perceived immorality of their behavior mediated this effect. Studies 3 and 4 highlight the behavioral consequences of self-dehumanization. The extent to which participants saw themselves as less human after perpetrating social ostracism predicted subsequent prosocial behavior. Studies 2 to 4 also demonstrate that consequences of self-dehumanization occur independently of any effects of self-esteem or mood. The findings are discussed in relation to previous work on dehumanization and self-perception. We conclude that in the context of immoral actions (self) dehumanization may be functional.
Keyword Dehumanization
Social ostracism
Moral disengagement
Prosocial behavior
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 25 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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