Apparency of physical disability as related to social response



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The relationship between apparency of physical disability and the reaction of disabled Ss to social contact was investigated by the performances of Ss on a binocular rivalry task. The stimuli of the binocular rivalry test presented photographs depicting a smiling face and a scowling face simultaneously, one to each eye and simulating eye-contact with Ss. It was assumed that Ss would achieve binocular resolution by perceiving in accord with their expectations of social reactions toward self. It was predicted that visibly disabled Ss would rate the fused stimulus as significantly more unpleasant then would nonvisibly disabled Ss, due to visibly disabled Ss' anticipating social rejection more than Ss with a nonvisible physical loss. Anticipation of social rejection results from our culture's high value for physical attractiveness and ability. The hypothesis was not confirmed. The nonsignificant results were explained as due, in part, to the possible different effects of an emotional disability as compared to a physical disability. In addition, the sample was not severely disabled physically. A subsample of quadriplegics suggested confirmation of the hypothesis when Ss were definitely and obviously disabled. Since the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research had available information on each S, a secondary hypothesis was that there would be a significant relationship between Ss' background data and Ss' performances on the binocular rivalry task. Again, the relationship was not found. The nonsignificant findings were discussed in terms of the Ss' comparison levels.



People with disabilities, Psychology