(De) humanization and trust in an asymmetric Muslim–Christian conflict: Heroes, Kafirs, and Satanas.

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Is there any empirical relation between intergroup (de)humanization and trust during asymmetric conflicts? We address this question using as a case in point a Muslim–Christian heated clash in southern Philippines. Our data corpus consists of newspaper articles and Facebook public posts. Text-mining analytical strategies include detecting the word trust and its derivatives, employing text-based principal component analysis to portray culture-embedded meanings of dehumanization, and running trust–humanization correlations. Our results suggest that an identical set of conflict utterances evokes a greater sense of dehumanization from the low-power group, while the high-power group remains relatively unperturbed. Further, the language of dehumanization occurs through negative religious images like the word kafir or unbeliever for Christians, while Muslims are dehumanized through the use of words like Satanas (Satan) and demonyo (demon). Finally, high trust toward one’s ingroup goes hand-in-hand with dehumanizing the enemy. Our research extends the study of trust and humanization beyond theoretical discussions and laboratory experiments. We see how psychological phenomena operate in actual conflict settings that are markedly unequal and religiously fueled. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved)