The Mind and Morality Lab (MiMo)


Lab Research interests

We have several research interests within the lab

  1. When people stop being human. Although we might feel that ‘everyone is human’, research on the psychology of dehumanization has revealed that we are quite flexible in how we attribute humanity to others. Our work has focused on the processes underlying intergroup dehumanization – the tendency to see ethnic, gender, and national outgroups as less than human. We have also examined the role of dehumanizing metaphors such as animals and robots in thinking about other people.
  2. When some-one becomes a some-thing. Objectification, or treating a person as if they were only an object, is a powerful way in which others can be mistreated. When a person becomes seen and treated as an object, they can lose the moral standing we normally give to other humans. Our work focuses on the dehumanizing impact of objectification and how it can reduce moral concern for the objectified. We have also started to look at the implicit and behavioural aspects of objectification.
  3. When we eat animals. Most people love animals and most people eat animals. How do people negotiate this seeming moral paradox? Our work has focused on the denial of mind and moral standing to animals as removing the barriers to eating them; by seeing animals as mindless, insensitive, and amoral entities, eating them becomes okay. We have also conducted work on the justifications people give to support meat-eating behaviour.

In sum, attributing humanity to other people (dehumanization, objectification) and to animals (anthropomorphism). Deciding who is worthy of moral concern and when. 

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