Nonhuman animals are typically excluded from the scope of social psychology. This article presents animals as social objects - targets of human social responses - overviewing the similarities and differences with human targets. The focus here is on perceiving animal species as social groups. Reflecting the two fundamental dimensions of humans' social cognition - perceived warmth (benign or ill intent) and competence (high or low ability), proposed within the Stereotype Content Model (Fiske, Cuddy, Glick, & Xu, 2002) - animal stereotypes are identified, together with associated prejudices and behavioral tendencies. In line with human intergroup threats, both realistic and symbolic threats associated with animals are reviewed. As a whole, animals appear to be social perception targets within the human sphere of influence and a valid topic for research.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social cognition
- Social groups