Status &Gender Influences on Perceptions of MR

Project: Research project

Project Details


[unreadable] DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Recent legislation has ensured legal and educational rights for members of society with a diverse range of disabilities. The extent to which these shifts have affected perceptions and behavior by non-disabled members of society is not yet clear. What is known, however, is that an individual's ability to function in social, educational, and vocational environments is dependent not just on the behavior of that individual, but also on the ways in which he or she is perceived and treated by the larger society. Thus, exploring perceptions of and responses to individuals with disabilities is essential. This application will explore two factors that social psychologists have demonstrated to be important determinants of social interactions. One is "status," that is, a person's social standing, rank position, dominance, or power relative to other group members. The second is gender and adherence to gender-typical behavior. Both have been shown to clearly and consistently affect perceptions and behavior in the general population. Despite extensive research with non-disabled people, virtually nothing is known about the extent to which status and/or gender affect perceptions and behaviors when the individuals under consideration have a manifest intellectual disability. It is perhaps surprising that two factors that have received such widespread attention in other populations have been largely ignored in the area of developmental disabilities. Are individuals with intellectual impairments judged and responded to along the dimensions of status and gender-typical behavior? If so, the ability of such people to interact and function may be affected. This project has two specific aims: (a) to identify whether adherence to gender-typical behavior influences perceptions of females with intellectual disabilities by non-disabled individuals, and (b) to evaluate the role of gender and perceived status in determining behavior exhibited towards females with intellectual disabilities. Study 1 examines how non-disabled adults rate interactions when a female with mental retardation adheres to female-typical speech patterns as compared to when she does not. Study 2 manipulates the perceived status of an individual (a research confederate) to explore whether non-disabled adults behave differently toward someone they expect has mental retardation than someone considered to be a peer, someone of higher status, or someone of lower status. [unreadable] [unreadable]
Effective start/end date4/1/043/31/07


  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $77,900.00
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development: $77,900.00


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