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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2007 Jan;33(1):57-68.

Humanizing the self: moderators of the attribution of lesser humanness to others.

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University of Melbourne, Department of Psychology, Parkville, Australia.


Three studies investigated moderators of the tendency to attribute greater humanness to the self than to others, an interpersonal counterpart of outgroup infra-humanization. Study 1 demonstrated that this self-humanizing effect is reduced when the other is the focus of comparison. Study 2 showed that the effect is reduced when the other is individuated. Study 3 indicated that empathy does not moderate self-humanizing: Self-humanizing failed to correlate negatively with dispositional empathy or perspective-taking. Study 3 also indicated that abstract construal moderates the self-humanizing effect using a temporal comparison. Participants rated their future self, but not their past self, as less human than their present self. Studies 1 and 3 also showed that self-humanizing is greater for undesirable traits: People may view their failings as "only human." All findings were distinct from those attributable to self-enhancement. Self-humanizing may reflect a combination of egocentrism, focalism, abstract representation of others, and motivated processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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