Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Garriy Shtyenberg

Committee Members

Michael Olson, Lowell Gaertner, Victor Ray


Previous research regarding dehumanization has shown that individuals reserve secondary emotions, which comprise the essence of being human, to fellow ingroup members and ascribe primary emotions, which we share with animals, to outgroups. The current studies sought to explore whether this bias is universal or is facilitated by social power. Studies 1 and 2 examined how White participants, whose dominant racial identity has been made salient, attribute emotions across White and Black targets and found that White men primed with White identity ascribed fewer secondary emotions to the Black target relative to the White target. Study 3 tested whether White men attribute emotions differently across White men and White women when their identity as a man is activated, but the dominant identity prime yielded no differences in secondary emotion designation across targets.Studies 4 and 5 were designed to determine whether dehumanization was driven by dominant identities or general ingroup bias.Study 4 explored whether Black participants attribute fewer secondary emotions to White (vs. Black targets) and study 5 tested whether White women attributed fewer secondary emotions to White men (vs. White women) when their stigmatized identity was made accessible.For both studies, no differences in secondary emotion attribution across targets emerged. Taken together, these findings suggest that outgroup dehumanization is, at least partially, facilitated by social dominance.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."