Steve Loughnan


  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room G30, Psychology Building

7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code


  • Office hours: Fridays, 13:00 to 15:00.

Undergraduate teaching

I teach social psychology at years two, three, and four. I am teaching second year social psychology where I cover general concepts. At third year, I teach a course on experimental and applied social psychology and at fourth year I teach on social class. Finally, I supervise undergradute dissertations, MSc, and PhD students. 

Office Hours

I am available from 3pm-5pm on Monday. 

Current PhD students supervised

Research summary

I have several research interests which I am happy to collaborate and supervise on.

  1. When people stop being human. Although we might feel that ‘everyone is human’, research on the psychology of dehumanization has revealed that we are quite flexible in how we attribute humanity to others. My work has focused on the processes underlying intergroup dehumanization – the tendency to see ethnic, gender, and national outgroups as less than human. I have also examined the role of dehumanizing metaphors such as animals and robots in thinking about other people.
  1. When some-one becomes a some-thing. Objectification, or treating a person as if they were only an object, is a powerful way in which others can be mistreated. When a person becomes seen and treated as an object, they can lose the moral standing we normally give to other humans. My work focuses on the dehumanizing impact of objectification and how it can reduce moral concern for the objectified. I have also started to look at the implicit and behavioural aspects of objectification.
  1. When we eat animals. Most people love animals and most people eat animals. How do people negotiate this seeming moral paradox? My work has focused on the denial of mind and moral standing to animals as removing the barriers to eating them; by seeing animals as mindless, insensitive, and amoral entities, eating them becomes ok. I have also conducted work on the justifications people give to support meat-eating behaviour.
  1. The costs of inequality. We are living through a time of historically high levels of economic inequality. In the UK and US, the richest sections of society are becoming progressively wealthier, whilst the poor slip deeper into poverty. My work looks at the social psychological aspects of economic inequality.    

For my publications see


Attributing humanity to other people (dehumanization, objectification) and to animals (anthropomorphism). Deciding who is worthy of moral concern and when. Examining the psychological consequences of economic inequality.