Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research
Committee Chair Name
Dr. Amber M. Gaffney
Committee Chair Affiliation
HSU Faculty or Staff
Second Committee Member Name
Dr. Christopher Walmsley
Second Committee Member Affiliation
HSU Faculty or Staff
Third Committee Member Name
Dr. Justin Hackett
Third Committee Member Affiliation
Community Member or Outside Professional
The current study aims to expand on the human-animal relations literature through a social identity lens, using 231 participants recruited from Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Americans consume large amounts of meat, yet many people feel morally conflicted by enjoying meat, yet killing animals. These feelings can be tied to one’s identity, through identifying as a vegetarian, meat-eater, or animal lover. Humans tend to attach themselves to a social group, act on behalf of that group’s norms and values, and use their groups to reduce feelings of uncertainty by adopting group normative attitudes and behaviors. People who identify strongly with all of humanity tend to hold favorable views of outgroups and express empathy towards outgroups, which may or may not extend to non-human animals (identification with all of humanity; IWAH). However, if people identify strongly with all of humanity, do conditions that exacerbate intergroup perceptions lead them to denigrate and hold less empathy for animals? This study explores whether or not all of humanity can form a salient and coherent identity for people experiencing uncertainty. If so, then the benefits of IWAH (less prejudice and more empathy as IWAH increases) should not extend to non-human animals when people experience uncertainty and look to distinguish the ingroup from a relevant outgroup. Perhaps IWAH captures “global community” rather than a distinct identity and connection with all of humanity? This study predicts that IWAH will produce greater beliefs that animals have human-like qualities (e.g., empathy, personality), particularly when an animal is described in a humanized way; however, this effect will be weakened (or will disappear) in conditions of high uncertainty. Findings did not support the hypotheses; however results and null findings are discussed in terms of implications for future research and theory development examining IWAH from a self-categorization perspective.
Wilson, Andrea Michelle, "Identification with all of humanity, uncertainty, and beliefs toward animals" (2023). Cal Poly Humboldt theses and projects. 626.