Humanization of social relations: Nourishing health and resilience through greater humanity

Saul A. Castro, Alex J. Zautra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In this article we introduce "humanization" as a value framework that may guide resilience interventions. We regard the humanization of relationships as a key to health, wellbeing, and the capacity for resilient adaptation to stress for individuals and across communities. Although humans are wired to connect (Lieberman, 2013), they often dehumanize others (Harris & Fiske, 2011). By failing to consider another person's mind, that person is dehumanized. That perception enables inhumane treatment of the other, through the processes social scientists have referred to as dehumanization, infrahumanization, and objectification (Haslam & Loughnan, 2014). We argue that it is possible to reverse dehumanized perceptions through interventions that identify the underlying causes of dehumanizing and objectifying others, and show the value of taking into account the other's perspective (Harris & Fiske, 2011). By humanizing social relations, people understand one another as unique individuals with minds, emotions, goals, and preferences worthy of attention, and learn how to refrain from objectifying others' identities based on group classification or to fill their own needs. Humanizing relationships nourishes resilience by fostering daily moments of positive connection with others in the short term, and creating stronger, more sustainable social bonds in the long-term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)64-80
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 2016


  • Humanization
  • Prosocial emotions
  • Social intelligence
  • Social relations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy
  • Psychology(all)


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