Humanizing outgroups through multiple categorization: the roles of individuation and threat

Francesca Prati*, Richard J. Crisp, Rose Meleady, Monica Rubini

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In three studies, we examined the impact of multiple categorization on intergroup dehumanization. Study 1 showed that perceiving members of a rival university along multiple versus simple categorical dimensions enhanced the tendency to attribute human traits to this group. Study 2 showed that multiple versus simple categorization of immigrants increased the attribution of uniquely human emotions to them. This effect was explained by the sequential mediation of increased individuation of the outgroup and reduced outgroup threat. Study 3 replicated this sequential mediation model and introduced a novel way of measuring humanization in which participants generated attributes corresponding to the outgroup in a free response format. Participants generated more uniquely human traits in the multiple versus simple categorization conditions. We discuss the theoretical implications of these findings and consider their role in informing and improving efforts to ameliorate contemporary forms of intergroup discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-539
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number4
Early online date16 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Creative commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC 3.0)

The online supplemental material is available at


  • dehumanization
  • individuation
  • multiple categorization
  • perceived threat


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