Cuteness and Disgust: The Humanizing and Dehumanizing Effects of Emotion

  title={Cuteness and Disgust: The Humanizing and Dehumanizing Effects of Emotion},
  author={Gary D. Sherman and Jonathan Haidt},
  journal={Emotion Review},
  pages={245 - 251}
Moral emotions are evolved mechanisms that function in part to optimize social relationships. We discuss two moral emotions— disgust and the “cuteness response”—which modulate social-engagement motives in opposite directions, changing the degree to which the eliciting entity is imbued with mental states (i.e., mentalized). Disgust-inducing entities are hypo-mentalized (i.e., dehumanized); cute entities are hyper-mentalized (i.e., “humanized”). This view of cuteness—which challenges the… 

Figures from this paper

Cuteness and Appeals: Unleashing Prosocial Emotions

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the implications of cuteness in marketing communication. It uses babyfacedness research as the basis for evoking a cuteness response, and introduces a

Of filthy pigs and subhuman mongrels: Dehumanization, disgust, and intergroup prejudice

Representing others as less-than-human can have profound consequences, delegitimizing the target and removing them from protections otherwise afforded to “people.” This review explores recent

Too Cute for Words: Cuteness Evokes the Heartwarming Emotion of Kama Muta

The studies provide first evidence that cute stimuli evoke the heartwarming emotion of kama muta, a social-relational emotion that in other contexts is often labeled in English as being moved or touched, heartwarming, nostalgia, patriotic feeling, being touched by the Spirit, the feels.

Cuteness and Singer’s Expanding Moral Circle: Examining Cuteness as a Moral Issue

This essay will show visual cuteness to be a biological phenomenon where viewing the specific proportions of baby-schema causes an innate releasing mechanism to respond, thus creating a consistent

An exploratory study into the effects of extraordinary nature on emotions, mood, and prosociality

Watching awesome natural scenes and phenomena had some unique and pronounced emotional effects, triggered the most mood improvement, and led to a more prosocial SVO, and it was found that participants' willingness to donate did not differ significantly for any of the conditions.

Emotion and Morality: A Tasting Menu

In recent years, moral psychology has undergone a renaissance characterized by two dramatic changes (Haidt, 2007). First, the scientific study of morality has become a broad, interdisciplinary

Emotion and Morality : A Tasting

In recent years, moral psychology has undergone a renaissance characterized by two dramatic changes (Haidt, 2007). First, the scientific study of morality has become a broad, interdisciplinary

Measuring Affective Responses to Cuteness and Japanese kawaii as a Multidimensional Construct

The aim of this study was twofold: first to create a self-report scale that measures responsiveness to cuteness and kawaii in three key domains (baby animals, baby humans, and animate objects), and

Cross-Cultural Comparisons of the Cute and Related Concepts in Japan, the United States, and Israel

This study provides some evidence that the concept of cuteness and the feelings connected to its perception are universal and except for slight cultural differences, common tendencies were found.

The Chain of Being

  • M. BrandtChristine Reyna
  • Philosophy
    Perspectives on psychological science : a journal of the Association for Psychological Science
  • 2011
This work proposes that people still use an embodied vertical moral hierarchy to understand their moral world and serves as a unifying theoretical framework that organizes research on moral perception, highlights unique interconnections, and provides a roadmap for future research.



The moral emotions.

Morality dignifies and elevates. When Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, God said "Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3:22). In many of the world's religious

Dehumanization: An Integrative Review

  • N. Haslam
  • Psychology
    Personality and social psychology review : an official journal of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Inc
  • 2006
An expanded sense of dehumanization emerges, in which the phenomenon is not unitary, is not restricted to the intergroup context, and does not occur only under conditions of conflict or extreme negative evaluation.

On seeing human: a three-factor theory of anthropomorphism.

A theory to explain when people are likely to anthropomorphize and when they are not is described, focused on three psychological determinants--the accessibility and applicability of anthropocentric knowledge, the motivation to explain and understand the behavior of other agents, and the desire for social contact and affiliation.

Psychological essentialism and the differential attribution of uniquely human emotions to ingroups and outgroups

According to the psychological essentialism perspective, people tend to explain differences between groups by attributing them different essences. Given a pervasive ethnocentrism, this tendency

Dehumanizing the Lowest of the Low

Traditionally, prejudice has been conceptualized as simple animosity. The stereotype content model (SCM) shows that some prejudice is worse. The SCM previously demonstrated separate stereotype

The role of positive emotions in positive psychology. The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions.

The theory and findings suggest that the capacity to experience positive emotions may be a fundamental human strength central to the study of human flourishing.

Social groups that elicit disgust are differentially processed in mPFC.

  • L. HarrisS. Fiske
  • Psychology, Biology
    Social cognitive and affective neuroscience
  • 2007
This study demonstrates that the same type of judgment for these individuals is processed in a region anatomically distinct from social groups that elicit exclusively social emotions, and inferring individuating information (food preferences) increases mPFC activation above superficial categorical judgments.

Social Functions of Emotions at Four Levels of Analysis

In this paper we integrate claims and ® ndings concerning the social functions of emotions at the individual, dyadic, group, and cultural levels of analysis. Across levels of analysis theorists

The Intentional Stance.

How are we able to understand and anticipate each other in everyday life, in our daily interactions? Through the use of such "folk" concepts as belief, desire, intention, and expectation, asserts

When Morality Opposes Justice: Conservatives Have Moral Intuitions that Liberals may not Recognize

Researchers in moral psychology and social justice have agreed that morality is about matters of harm, rights, and justice. On this definition of morality, conservative opposition to social justice