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Infrahumanization and Socio-Structural Variables: The Role of Legitimacy, Ingroup Identification, and System Justification Beliefs

  • Silvia Russo
  • Cristina Onesta MossoEmail author
Article
  • 35 Downloads

Abstract

As there is a robust tendency to support system-legitimizing beliefs by appealing to stereotypes or ideologies, we examined the role played by the perception of the status quo in relation to the infrahumanization bias. We compared this bias in high versus low-status group members and tested the mediating role of system justification beliefs and ingroup identification. The results of a moderated-mediated regression model (N = 238) showed that the perception of legitimacy of one’s own status had differential effects on the infrahumanization bias: The perception of legitimacy was positively associated with the endorsement of system justification beliefs and negatively associated with ingroup identification among low-status group members, whereas the perception of legitimacy was positively associated with ingroup identification among high-status group members. In both groups, ingroup identification was positively correlated with the tendency to infrahumanize the outgroup, while the endorsement of system justification beliefs was linked to the infrahumanization among low-status group members only. The findings highlight that the Social Identity Theory and the System Justification Theory can be fruitfully combined to explain infrahumanization tendencies.

Keywords

Infrahumanization System justification Ingroup identification Legitimacy Status quo 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by PRIN grant from the Italian Ministry of Education and Research (MIUR, Prin 200974XYL2_003). The grant supported the research project on “Legitimizing discrimination: psychological strategies to maintain social differences. The role of moderators by ideologies, identification and intergroup ambivalence”. The authors would like to thank Ximena Cortes Gaviria and Caterina Paiano for their support during the data collection.

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of TorinoTurinItaly

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