Several authors have argued that dehumanization may be the psychological process that underlies people's willingness to torture outgroup members. In the current research, we directly examined this question among Christian participants, with Muslims as the target outgroup. Across two studies, we found that to the extent that Christians dehumanized Muslims, they were more likely to self-report the willingness to torture Muslim prisoners of war. We also found that perceiving Muslims as a threat moderated the relationship between dehumanization and the self-reported proclivity to torture. These findings support the propositions made by previous authors on the role of dehumanization in torture, war and genocide.
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