Suffering bullying passively is to be excluded from humanity: You are not human unless you stand up for yourself

Fousiani, K., Sakalaki, M. & Richardson, C., 2020, In : Hellenic Journal of Psychology. 17, 1, p. 81-96 16 p.

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Two experiments were conducted in order to test whether suffering as a result of bullying affects the perceived humanness of the victims. We hypothesized that observers who are confronted with suffering and passive endurance of victimization will view victims as less than human. We propose a double dehumanization of victims, that is, denial of both their human uniqueness and human nature.We also hypothesized that victims’ defending themselves and deploying agency rather than passivity, has a humanizing effect on observers’ perceptions of the victims. Suffering was manipulated via vignettes describing bullying incidents experienced by both children and adult victims. Study 1 (N = 197) fully corroborated our first hypothesis. Study 2 (N = 164) replicated the findings of Study 1 and additionally showed that victims’ defense of themselves before harm-doers had a doubly humanizing effect on them (i.e., attribution of higher uniquely human but also human nature traits). These results provided support to our second hypothesis. Findings are discussed in terms of perceivers’ detachment from those who display passivity instead of agency in conditions that involve suffering.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalHellenic Journal of Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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