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.
Bibliographical noteFunding 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.
© The Author(s) 2019.
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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science