Dehumanization Effects on Agency Attributions, Retributive Justice judgments, and Resocialization Attitudes towards Former Perpetrators in Post-conflict

Abstract

Previous research has evidenced the effects of dehumanization on observers’ attributions, social categorizations, and retributive judgments, towards different kinds of perpetrators. Colombia is currently facing a peace process with the FARC, the largest guerrilla force in the country, and this post-war context becomes ideal for studying these effects. The current study evaluated the effects of a media dehumanizing discourse towards former perpetrators on observers’ agency attributions, retributive judgments, and resocialization attitudes towards them. Each participant read two different web news articles about the capture of a FARC member which were manipulated to be framed in humanizing and dehumanizing speech respectively. Then, they answered an agency attribution scale, retributive justice and resocialization attitudes measures, and a social distance scale about the news’ main character. Results show that when FARC members were framed in a dehumanizing context, observers significantly attributed them less agency, endorsed more severe retributive judgments, showed more negative attitudes towards their resocialization, and showed greater social distance. The implications of these findings for a Disarmament, Demobilization, and Reincorporation (DDR) process in a post-conflict scenario are discussed.

Publication
PsyArXiv