Less human, more to blame: Animalizing poor people increases blame and decreases support for wealth redistribution

Mario Sainz*, Rocío Martínez, Robbie M. Sutton, Rosa Rodríguez-Bailón, Miguel Moya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing economic inequality adversely affects groups with low socioeconomic status (low-SES). However, many people are opposed to wealth redistribution policies. In this context, we examined whether dehumanization of low-SES groups has a role in this opposition. In the first study (N = 303), opposition to wealth redistribution was related to denying human uniqueness (e.g., intelligence and rationality) and having negative attitudes toward low-SES groups, more than denying human nature (e.g., emotionality and capacity to suffer) to low-SES groups. Mediation analyses indicated that this effect occurred via blaming low-SES groups for their plight, after controlling for participants’ SES and negative attitudes towards low-SES groups. In the second study (N = 220), manipulating the human uniqueness of a fictitious low-SES group affected support for wealth redistribution measures through blame. These results indicate that animalizing low-SES groups reduces support for wealth redistribution via blaming low-SES groups for their situation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)546-559
Number of pages14
JournalGroup Processes and Intergroup Relations
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research has been conducted in the framework of projects PSI2017-83966-R and PSI2016-78839-P, funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2019.

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Communication
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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