Rehumanization as an Intervention for Disgust-Based Prejudice: The Case of Ableism
April 9, 2019
Department or Program
People with disabilities (PWD) comprise one of the largest minority groups and are the target of widespread prejudice and discrimination. Despite making great progress in understanding racial and gender bias, social psychologists have given scant attention to biases related to ability. A handful of studies have sought to understand ableism as a form of disgust-based prejudice. Disgust is an emotion that evolved to prevent disease transmission by motivating avoidance of contaminated objects or people. Evolutionary psychologists have claimed that nonconforming bodies or behaviors associated with PWD may be mistaken for disease cues, leading to disgust-based prejudice. Social psychologists also suggest that privileged groups (i.e., able-bodied people) may project disgust onto marginalized groups (e.g., PWD) to dehumanize them and justify their mistreatment. Our study seeks to determine if rehumanizing interventions are effective at reducing disgust-based prejudice toward PWD.