Subtle, Moderate, and Blatant Dehumanization of Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes

Published: 29 July 2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/ywbjnkdh3f.1


The study aimed to find whether the Caste system, an ancient system of social stratification that continues to be in existence affects cognitive processes - perception in specific. The three experiments in this study give evidence that the community placed at the bottom of the caste hierarchy - the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) - are dehumanized. Study 1 gives evidence for subtle dehumanization through an Implicit Association Test (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998). The participants associated the SC/ST targets with animal words and the General Category (dominant castes in the hierarchy) with human words. In study 2 consisted of a quasi-experimental study with participants belonging to both categories. Mind Attribution method (Haslam, Bain, Douge, Lee, & Bastian, 2005) was used to measure whether the targets are dehumanized when a moderately explicit tool was used. The results showed that the SC/ST targets were attributed less mind, while the General Category targets were not. The hypothesis was further supported using the Ascent of Man measure of dehumanization by Kteily, Bruneau, Waytz, & Cotterill (2015) in study 3. The results indicated blatant dehumanization of the SC/ST targets.



Indian Institute of Technology Gandhinagar


Behavioral Experiment