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The researchers asked participants to place groups of people on an “Ascent of Man” scale where people are ranked "from the knuckle dragging, ape-like human ancestor (0) through modern fully evolved upright human (100)." 

Photo: Luke Chen / The Daily Pennsylvanian

People are more likely to rate Muslim and Mexican immigrants lower than other Americans on a scale where zero represents a primitive ape-like form and 100 represents a modern human, according to a report by an Annenberg School for Communication researcher. 

Emile Bruneau, a research associate at the Annenberg School for Communication and director of the Peace and Conflict Neuroscience Lab, alongside Northwestern University’s Nour Kteily published a study on the effects of dehumanization from data they collected during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries.

In their study, “Backlash: The Politics and Real-World Consequences of Minority Group Dehumanization,” Bruneau and Kteily collected and assessed online data from hundreds of Americans about their opinions on politics, Mexican immigrants, Muslims and President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

The researchers asked participants to place groups of people on an “Ascent of Man” scale — which Bruneau characterized to Penn Current as "blatantly dehumanizing and totally offensive" — where people are ranked "from the knuckle dragging, ape-like human ancestor (zero) through modern fully evolved upright human (100)," Penn Current reported. 

Even American-born Muslims were rated lower than other Americans by participants of the study. 

Bruneau told Penn Current that his results suggest Trump's executive order on immigration, which the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently halted, may "promote" violence rather than decrease it. 

“Intergroup conflict is often asymmetrical,” he told Penn Current. “One group has power and one doesn’t. If the disempowered group feels humiliated by policies enacted by the dominant group and has no peaceful method to respond, they may turn to violence.”

In an interview with the Daily Pennsylvanian, he described his study as a "means to an end." 

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"I am working with two groups to help develop interventions," Bruneau said. "I am working with those dehumanized, like the Muslim-American community, and those who dehumanize, like former white-nationalists.”

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