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date: 28 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Given that the motivation to affiliate with others is one of the most fundamental and important motivations, humans have developed a variety of strategies to cope with lack of affiliation following experiences of social exclusion. One strategy is anthropomorphism, whereby people create social connection by treating nonhumans as human-like agents capable of social support. This chapter reviews evidence that social exclusion increases the tendencies to anthropomorphize and to seek social connection with nonhumans. It also addresses three questions that follow from people’s tendency to anthropomorphize as a means to attain social connection: (1) Is social connection with nonhumans effective? (2) Does connection with nonhumans diminish interest in connections with humans? (3) Could increases in social connection in fact increase dehumanization of other people? In attempting to answer these questions, this chapter provides avenues for future research on the relationship between social connection and seeing human.

Keywords: agency, anthropomorphism, dehumanization, mind perception, motivation, social exclusion

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