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Objective: To investigate the impact of disability simulations on mood, self-ascribed disability stereotypes, attitudes about interacting with disabled individuals, and behavioral intentions for improving campus accessibility. Design: Experiment 1 evaluated disability-awareness simulations by randomly assigning undergraduates (N = 60) with and without disabilities to stations simulating either dyslexia, hearing or mobility impairments. Experiment 2 extended the field study into the lab where undergraduates (N = 50) with and without disabilities each completed low vision, hearing impairment, and dyslexia simulations. Both studies incorporated pretest-posttest measures of mood, self-ascribed disability stereotypes, and attitudinal measures. Results: In both experiments, disability simulations made participants feel more confused, embarrassed, helpless, and more vulnerable to becoming disabled themselves compared to baseline. Following the simulations, empathetic concern (warmth) toward disabled people increased in both studies, but attitudes about interacting did not improve. In Experiment 1, postsimulation anxiety, embarrassment, and helplessness were highest for those who used wheelchairs or simulated dyslexia. In Experiment 2, participants judged themselves less competent, expressed more pity, expressed more interaction discomfort, and were not more willing to interview disabled students for an accessibility project following the simulations compared to baseline. In addition, Experiment 2 found frustration, guilt, anxiety, and depression were most pronounced among those who interacted with disabled people less than once per month. Conclusions: Simulating disabilities promotes distress and fails to improve attitudes toward disabled people, undermining efforts to improve integration even while participants report more empathetic concern and "understanding of what the disability experience is like." (PsycINFO Database Record
Rehabilitation Psychology
Crip for a Day: The Unintended Negative Consequences
of Disability Simulations
Michelle R. Nario-Redmond, Dobromir Gospodinov, and Angela Cobb
Online First Publication, March 13, 2017.
Nario-Redmond, M. R., Gospodinov, D., & Cobb, A. (2017, March 13). Crip for a Day: The
Unintended Negative Consequences of Disability Simulations. Rehabilitation Psychology.
Advance online publication.
Crip for a Day: The Unintended Negative Consequences
of Disability Simulations
Michelle R. Nario-Redmond, Dobromir Gospodinov, and Angela Cobb
Hiram College
Objective: To investigate the impact of disability simulations on mood, self-ascribed disability stereotypes,
attitudes about interacting with disabled individuals, and behavioral intentions for improving campus acces-
sibility. Design: Experiment 1 evaluated disability-awareness simulations by randomly assigning undergrad-
uates (N60) with and without disabilities to stations simulating either dyslexia, hearing or mobility
impairments. Experiment 2 extended the field study into the lab where undergraduates (N50) with and
without disabilities each completed low vision, hearing impairment, and dyslexia simulations. Both studies
incorporated pretest–posttest measures of mood, self-ascribed disability stereotypes, and attitudinal measures.
Results: In both experiments, disability simulations made participants feel more confused, embarrassed,
helpless, and more vulnerable to becoming disabled themselves compared to baseline. Following the
simulations, empathetic concern (warmth) toward disabled people increased in both studies, but attitudes about
interacting did not improve. In Experiment 1, postsimulation anxiety, embarrassment, and helplessness were
highest for those who used wheelchairs or simulated dyslexia. In Experiment 2, participants judged themselves
less competent, expressed more pity, expressed more interaction discomfort, and were not more willing to
interview disabled students for an accessibility project following the simulations compared to baseline. In
addition, Experiment 2 found frustration, guilt, anxiety, and depression were most pronounced among those
who interacted with disabled people less than once per month. Conclusions: Simulating disabilities promotes
distress and fails to improve attitudes toward disabled people, undermining efforts to improve integration even
while participants report more empathetic concern and “understanding of what the disability experience is like.”
Impact and Implications
Few have published empirically reliable studies evaluating the effects of simulating physical,
cognitive, and sensory disabilities on emotions, self-stereotyping, and attitudes about improving the
integration of people with disabilities. This article is the first to integrate and extend the often-
contradictory literatures on perspective taking and disability simulation, advancing a critique of some
of the most popular, albeit controversial, disability awareness activities practiced. Using both
disabled and nondisabled participants, these two experimental studies provide convergent support for
the negative consequences of artificially simulating disability— consequences that vary by simula-
tion type and frequency of contact with disabled people. These findings confirm what disability
advocates have long expressed—that simulations can subvert their intended educational value and
distort the realities of life with disability. Based on this review of evidence, rehabilitation providers
and educators should consider alternatives to traditional disability simulations which continue to
reinforce outdated, ableist ideas by emphasizing early-onset limitations, and failing to expose
structural barriers to participation or disability as a lived experience and cultural identity (Nario-
Redmond, Noel, & Fern, 2013; Nario-Redmond & Oleson, 2016). Recommendations are provided
for more inclusive curricula that incorporates contemporary representations of disability, insider
expertise, and awareness of strategies for challenging discrimination and promoting disability justice.
Keywords: ableism, disability awareness, disability simulation, perspective taking
By focusing cultural and societal awareness on certain facets of the
disability experience (e.g., on impairment) to the exclusion or obfus-
cation of other facets of the disability experience (e.g., disability
oppression and discrimination), it becomes clear to us that dominant
approaches to disability simulation (e.g., simulation of impairment)
serve to constitute and reproduce, rather than disrupt, disability
oppression. (Lalvani & Broderick, 2013, p. 469)
For many years, education and rehabilitation professionals have
emphasized the value of interactive role-playing experiences to
improve disability attitudes and increase understanding using both
vicarious and direct forms of perspective taking (Burgstahler &
Doe, 2004). However, these activities—referred to as disability
simulations— have only recently been subject to empirical scrutiny
(Flower, Burns, & Bottsford-Miller, 2007). There remains a strong
assumption that as a pedagogical tool, role-playing blindness,
Michelle R. Nario-Redmond, Dobromir Gospodinov, and Angela Cobb,
Department of Psychology, Hiram College.
A partial report of these data was presented at the June 2010 and June
2011 annual meetings of the Society for Disability Studies in Philadelphia,
PA, and San Jose, CA, respectively.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michelle
R. Nario-Redmond, PhD, Department of Psychology, Hiram College, P.O.
Box 67, Hiram, OH 44234. E-mail:
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Rehabilitation Psychology © 2017 American Psychological Association
2017, Vol. 62, No. 2, 000 0090-5550/17/$12.00
deafness, and paralysis can accurately capture the disability expe-
rience through approximations of altered embodiment that are
neither permanent nor complete (French, 1996).
The repertoire of disability simulation primarily involves “tak-
ing on” physical and sensory impairments related to low vision,
hearing loss, and mobility limitations (Kiger, 1992). However,
some attempt to approximate age-related cognitive deficits (Pa-
cala, Boult, & Hepburn, 2006), and psychiatric conditions as well
(Ando, Clement, Barley, & Thornicroft, 2011). Ear plugs are often
used to simulate deafness, blindfolds or special glasses simulate
low vision, and wheelchairs or restraints that bind the legs or arms
are typical in paralysis simulations. These exercises are common to
disability awareness programming in public and private schools,
college campuses, medical programs, and professional training
seminars (Hartwell, 2001; Lindsay & Edwards, 2013). Practitio-
ners of these “arresting educational techniques” swear by their
popularity to engage students and stimulate discussion (Pacala et
al., 2006), and the practice continues despite mounting criticisms
from many scholars within the disability community warning of
their unintended consequences (Blaser, 2003; Brew-Parrish, 2004;
Lalvani & Broderick, 2013). Surprisingly few studies have eval-
uated the efficacy of disability simulations across knowledge,
attitudinal, and behavioral outcomes (Kiger, 1992). Does the use of
a wheelchair for an hour or even a day provide an accurate window
into the liberation associated with mobility, the creativity involved
in navigating through environmental barriers, or the affirmation of
one’s humanity linked to accessible spaces?
The primary goal when administering disability simulations is to
grant nondisabled people an opportunity to improve understanding
and acceptance of people with disabilities. Instead of just imagin-
ing what disability must be like, simulations allow people to
role-play through personal experience. This kind of perspective
taking is built on the assumption that people cannot fully under-
stand the circumstances facing disabled people unless they know
first-hand how disabled people seem to do what they do. This is
similar to the ideas represented in John Howard Griffin’s famous
journalism project, Black Like Me (Griffin, 1961), where he used
melanin-depositing medication and tanning to darken his skin prior
to visiting six Southern states to experience the trials of being
Black in America.
Perspective-Taking Research
While few have experimentally investigated the effects of first-
person disability simulations, Batson, Early, and Salvarani (1997;
Batson, Polycarpou, et al., 1997; Batson, 2010) have conducted
several theoretically grounded studies to examine how imagining
the perspective of stigmatized others affects empathy, attitudes,
and willingness to help. They found that attitudes were more
positive toward the homeless and those living with AIDS when
people were asked to first imagine their circumstances compared
to those not induced to assume their perspective. Furthermore,
feelings of empathy were shown to mediate the effects of perspec-
tive taking on attitude change (Batson, Polycarpou, et al., 1997).
Empathetic concern through perspective taking has also been
linked to increased helping behaviors (Cialdini, Brown, Lewis,
Luce, & Neuberg, 1997), volunteerism, and charitable donations
(Bekkers, 2010; Penner, 2002). Similar results have been repli-
cated across racial minorities, drug addicts, convicts, and people
with disabilities (Todd & Galinsky, 2014).
More recent research has identified an important caveat to the
perspective taking-empathy relationship based on the extent to
which the self “overlaps” the other person whose circumstances
are imagined (Myers, Laurent, & Hodges, 2014). That is, perspec-
tive taking may facilitate self– other merging, where the self and
the imagined other become mentally intertwined (Davis, Conklin,
Smith, & Luce, 1996). This self– other merging can increase iden-
tification and implicit associations with an imagined outgroup
leading to more positive outgroup conceptions (Todd, Boden-
hausen, & Galinsky, 2012). Self– other merging can also lead to
self-stereotyping across stigmatized groups. For example, when
taking the perspective of an elderly man, people considered them-
selves weaker and more dependent than those who did not take his
perspective, and behaved more stereotypically as well (Galinsky,
Wang, & Ku, 2008).
Emotional consequences differ dramatically depending on
whether one imagines what life is like for the other or imagines
oneself in the position of the other. Batson, Early, and Salvarani
(1997) found that imagining how someone else feels about a
traumatic accident, instead of imaging how “you yourself” would
feel, produced more empathy for the individual imagined and less
personal distress for the perceiver. While both approaches pro-
duced empathy—imagining how one would feel in the same situ-
ation resulted in more negative affect—feeling distressed, alarmed,
troubled, and perturbed. The authors speculated that “imagining
yourself” experiencing a traumatic event may elicit more self-
oriented empathy and egotistical concerns. By contrast, imagining
what a trauma is like for another person may elicit more other-
oriented empathy and altruistic concerns (Batson, Early, & Salva-
rani, 1997).
Generosity also depends on who is imagined as gaining or
losing a preferential outcome (Batson et al., 2003). When one
starts off with an unearned privilege that could be distributed more
equally, then imagining oneself as the disadvantaged other (e.g.,
how would I want to be treated) produces more benevolence and
fairer outcomes than not taking a perspective at all. By contrast,
when a limited resource can only be assigned to one person, then
imagining how someone else would feel (e.g., how would they
want to be treated) produces more benevolence than imagining
how I would feel or not taking a perspective at all. When it comes
to charitable giving, imagining the perspective of the recipient is
associated with more willingness to help and more donations
compared to imagining oneself from the perspective of the donor
(Hung & Wyer, 2009). Therefore, helping behaviors in the form of
volunteer time and money seem most effectively encouraged when
participants take the other’s perspective rather than their own.
The specific antecedents and motivations for empathy are im-
portant because empathy can facilitate immediate and long-lasting
positive attitudes toward stigmatized groups (Batson, 2010; Davis
& Begovic, 2014). The distinction between these findings and the
limited evidence on disability simulations, however, is that simu-
lations require participants to personally experience an artificially
manufactured version of disability rather than having them imag-
ine the problems that people with disabilities actually confront.
Simulating the experience of any minority group is problematic,
particularly when the imagined target is portrayed in stereotypical
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terms. Under these conditions, perspective-taking manipulations
can lead to greater stereotyping (Skorinko & Sinclair, 2013).
In brief, perspective taking has been found to produce complex
outcomes: It can increase how connected people feel to members
of outgroups while contributing to stereotypical judgments, self-
perceptions, and behaviors. Research also suggests that imagining
oneself in the place of others—rather than taking the other’s
perspective—is less effective at inducing empathy and help. These
findings have significant implications for interventions that seek to
provide first-person experiences of marginalized identities.
Disability-Simulations Research
In contrast to perspective-taking interventions, disability simu-
lations typically involve nondisabled people doing ordinary activ-
ities with alterations meant to mimic the assumed physical, sen-
sory, and motor challenges disabled people face. Some simulations
require students to eat a meal or perform everyday tasks while
blindfolded, wearing earplugs, or maneuvering a hospital-style
wheelchair with a focus on what cannot be done independently.
The stated goals of most of these educational enterprises is to
increase understanding and improve attitudes toward disabled peo-
ple. Despite good intentions, little empirical evidence supports that
disability simulations accomplish these goals (Kiger, 1992). For
example, a systematic review of disability awareness interventions
for children found only four simulation studies between 1980 and
2011 with at least one measured outcome for evaluation (Lindsay
& Edwards, 2013). Only one of these studies was considered
effective at increasing knowledge about barriers to accessibility,
particularly for fifth and sixth graders. However, instead of di-
rectly simulating impairments, this study utilized a virtual reality
game where children vicariously simulated the navigation of ob-
stacles from the purview of a wheelchair user (Pivik, McComas,
Macfarlane, & Laflamme, 2002). The other studies found mixed
evidence. The authors concluded that “the data were inadequate to
make a recommendation on the effectiveness of this type of
intervention” (Lindsay & Edwards, 2013, p. 642).
One of the earliest experimental simulation studies compared
undergraduates taking a 25-min campus tour while either walking
alone, playing the role of a wheelchair user, or walking behind a
wheelchair user to observe their experiences (Clore & Jeffery,
1972). No differences were found between those who used the
wheelchair and those who followed another wheelchair user. Both
groups expressed more empathetic concern, anxiety, and favorable
attitudes toward disability issues compared to the control group—
effects that persisted 4 months later. However, neither direct nor
vicarious role playing impacted students’ willingness to volunteer
to meet with prospective students with disabilities. A more recent
investigation found that individuals who participated in blindness
simulations judged blind individuals as less capable of working
and living independently than people who either simulated ampu-
tation or did no simulation at all (Silverman et al., 2015). Further-
more, blindness simulators forecasted that their own lives would
remain limited— even after 3 years of imagined future blindness.
Flower et al. (2007) conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the
impact of 10 studies that simulated orthopedic, cognitive, visual,
and hearing impairments: Not only did the simulations produce
small attitude-change effects, 6 out of 17 results showed attitudes
changed for the worse as a result of the simulation activities.
Compared to interventions that used a combination of educational
programming (e.g., videos and face-to-face contact with disabled
people)— direct simulations were the least effective. The authors
concluded that while not necessarily harmful, the utility of dis-
ability simulations was not supported, and discontinuation was
A decade-long review of the Aging Game curricula which
simulates progressive dependency (e.g., arm slings for arthritis,
and disorienting instructions for cognitive decline) found “two
general categories of behavioral responses—withdrawal and ag-
gression—that students invariably exhibit when participating in
the simulation experience” (Pacala et al., 2006, p. 145). Unfortu-
nately, less than half of the estimated 1,500 medical students who
participated in the Aging Game over the 10-year period completed
the optional evaluations. Those who did consistently rated the
simulations to be both interesting and educationally valuable. Even
when the evidence suggests otherwise, simulations are often
judged to be successful not only because they are entertaining, but
because many are designed to instigate the frustration and fear
assumed to characterize life with disability (French, 1996).
In a separate review of 10 studies simulating visual and auditory
hallucinations associated with schizophrenia, Ando et al. (2011)
found increased empathetic concern coincided with ambivalent
attitudes, negative emotions, physical distress, and a greater desire
to distance from those experiencing mental illnesses. Yet, partic-
ipants (psychology, nursing, and medical students) assumed they
had a better understanding of the insider’s perspective, and con-
sidered psychiatric simulations to be acceptable educational tools.
Galletly and Burton (2011) argued that when simulations are
combined with an insider’s personal account, positive changes can
occur. They gave medical students the opportunity to listen to
someone discuss his experiences with schizophrenia before they
simulated auditory hallucinations. Following the workshop, atti-
tudes improved but only among those with the most negative
attitudes toward mental illness. In other studies where insider
perspectives were not included, simulations of auditory hallucina-
tions have led to increased social rejection (S. A. Brown, Evans,
Espenschade, & O’Connor, 2010), and diminished empathetic
responses, particularly among those with low empathy at the outset
(Bunn & Terpstra, 2009). These findings suggest that the impact of
simulations may depend on other moderating variables including
frequency and quality of contact with disabled people as contact
predicts both future interactions and positive attitudes (MacMillan,
Tarrant, Abraham, & Morris, 2014).
Disability-Simulation Critiques
In contrast to educational approaches that incorporate personal
accounts (Mann & Himelein, 2008), disability simulations have
come under increasing scrutiny (Lalvani & Broderick, 2013; Valle
& Connor, 2011). Criticisms emphasize the inauthentic portrayals
of disablement that misinform those required to perform them
(Asch & McCarthy, 2003). Importantly, simulations misattribute
the source of disadvantage to personal deficit while ignoring
environmental barriers and policies that discriminate against cer-
tain types of minds and bodies (Scullion, 1996). Simulations focus
almost exclusively on what a newly acquired disability might be
like, even though participants realize their own “disability status”
is not permanent (French, 1996). Temporary simulations simply
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
fail to account for the diverse coping mechanisms acquired from
living long-term with disability (Wright, 1980). Instead, they em-
phasize the instantaneous absence of familiar embodiment (Wilson
& Alcorn, 1969). For example, people who have grown up Deaf
have learned many creative ways to navigate without sound using
other sensory cues and communicating in sign language. This is
not something that can be simulated in a few minutes of having
one’s ears plugged, and reflects an ableist perspective that empha-
sizes loss and limitation rather than the lived experience in an
often-discriminatory world.
Finally, disability simulations not only distort the reality of
disability, but reproduce stereotypes related to incompetence and
dependency (Nario-Redmond, 2010), especially when focused on
personal limitations. Consistent with this idea, Silverman et al.
(2015) found that those simulating blindness judged blind people
as less capable of independent living, but not less competent when
compared to nonsimulating controls. Interestingly, those simulat-
ing blindness also expressed more warmth toward blind people
(Experiment 2) than controls, while those simulating arm ampu-
tation rated blind people as less warm than controls (Experiment
1). These mixed findings highlight the importance of differentiat-
ing between measures of warmth and capacity or competence, as
each may have different implications for employment and educa-
tional and interpersonal contexts (Cuddy, Fiske, & Glick, 2008).
In summary, most disability simulations focus on how physical,
learning, and psychiatric conditions affect individual functioning
instead of making salient the socially created obstacles, inacces-
sible spaces and practices that systematically exclude (but see
Barney, 2012; Pivik et al., 2002). Despite these shortcomings,
simulations have sparked much interest in the topic of disability.
While producing inconsistent results, simulation games may per-
sist because they increase tolerance for ambiguity and spark con-
versation (Bredemeier & Greenblat, 1981). People may also enjoy
simulations because they fulfill curiosity with a token experience
of temporary distress that once relieved may instigate a sense of
gratitude for one’s current abilities.
Rationale: The Present Investigation
In line with much theoretically informed research on perspective
taking, imagining oneself in the place of stigmatized others can be
threatening, and empathetic concern can coincide with a desire for
greater social distance. Although not based in theory, disability
simulations also require taking the place of individuals with dis-
abilities. It is reasonable to expect that these activities too may
stimulate empathetic concern while simultaneously increasing
anxiety, frustration, and other indicators of personal distress. To
date, however, no studies have examined how disability simula-
tions affect mood-specific reactions, interaction attitudes, and be-
havioral intentions in addition to disability self-stereotyping. The
present investigation was designed to address this gap with two
experiments examining the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral
consequences of simulating both single and multiple disabilities in
college student samples. We had three hypotheses for both exper-
1. Compared to baseline, disability simulations will reduce
emotional well-being (increase negative mood states).
2. Compared to baseline, disability simulations will in-
crease self-ascribed disability stereotypes (increase help-
lessness, frustration, embarrassment, incompetence).
3. Compared to baseline, disability simulations will in-
crease empathetic concern (warmth) and negative inter-
action attitudes, but will reduce behavioral intentions
toward improving access for people with disabilities on a
college campus (Experiment 2).
To test these hypotheses, both field and laboratory experiments
were used. The field study capitalized on campus-wide disability
awareness programming with baseline data collected from under-
graduate classes in psychology. Students participated in disability
simulation activities set up at three different stations in the dining
hall prior to completing postmeasures. While the researchers did
not control the activity stations, they were permitted to evaluate
their impact. Experiment 1 used a 2 (pre-post) 3 (disability
simulation type: hearing loss, dyslexia, mobility impairment)
mixed-model design where simulation type was a between-
subjects factor. The second experiment was conducted in a more
controlled laboratory setting where each participant was exposed
to all three simulation activities: hearing loss, dyslexia, and a new
activity involving the simulation of low vision.
Experiment 2 used
a 2 (pre-post) 2 (contact: less than once per month, more than
once per month) mixed-model design where contact was a
between-subjects factor.
Experiment 1
Participants. Sixty undergraduate students (23 male, 37 fe-
male) were recruited for partial credit from psychology classes at
a small liberal arts college in the midwest. Participants were 18 to
25 years old (M20, SD 1.45). Only 22% identified as ethnic
minorities, and 30% indicated they experienced physical (n7),
psychiatric (n8), learning (n7), sensory (n1), chronic
health, or other disabling conditions (n3) personally.
Measures. Measures included the 30-item Profile of Mood
States—Short Form (POMS-SF; EdITS, 1999), the Interaction
with Disabled People Scale (IDPS; Gething & Wheeler, 1992), and
a measure of self-ascribed stereotypic traits associated with dis-
ability created for this study. Participants also provided their
thoughts about the simulations via open-ended responses. The
POMS-SF measures current mood states with six subscales: anx-
iety (e.g., uneasy, nervous), hostility (e.g., grouchy, annoyed),
fatigue (e.g., worn out, exhausted), depression (e.g., discouraged,
unworthy), activity (e.g., vigorous, energetic), and confusion (e.g.,
bewildered, muddled) on 0 (not at all)to4(extremely) response
scales. The stereotype traits measure captured the extent to which
participants described themselves as currently feeling helpless,
competent, frustrated, embarrassed, attractive, and guilty—traits
that correspond to consensually held stereotypes about disabled
Commercially available low-vision goggles were purchased to simu-
late general impaired acuity 20/200 (6/60) from www.lowvisionsimulations
.com. Hearing loss was simulated using standard noise-cancelling head-
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This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
people (Nario-Redmond, 2010), using the same 0 4 response
scale. The IDPS was constructed as a measure of attitudes toward
interacting with disabled people, and includes subscales for vul-
nerability (e.g., “I dread the thought that I could someday end up
like them”; “I am grateful that I do not have such a burden”),
sympathetic pity (e.g., “I admire their ability to cope”; “It hurts me
when they want to do something and cannot”), and discomfort
(e.g., “I feel uncomfortable and find it hard to relax”; “I am afraid
to look at the person straight in the face), using a 3 (disagree)
to 3 (agree) scale. To capture feelings of empathetic concern,
participants located their feelings toward people with disabilities
on a scale ranging from 0 (very cold) to 100 (very warm).
Procedure. Pretest measures were given in the classroom
prior to participants engaging in the simulations in the campus
dining hall as part of disability awareness week. They were ran-
domly assigned to visit one of three standard simulations. Hearing
impairment was simulated at one table by having students wear ear
plugs while attempting to read the lips of another student who read
a 1-min passage. To simulate dyslexia, students were asked to read
a 1-min news story that had each word typed backward; this is one
of the most popular—albeit inaccurate—simulations of dyslexia
conducted across educational contexts (Wadlington et al., 2008).
Mobility impairment was simulated by having students get their
meals using a hospital wheelchair. Posttest measures were given
immediately following the simulations.
Experiment 2
Participants. Fifty undergraduate students (17 male, 33 fe-
male) enrolled in a general psychology class at a small midwestern
college participated as part of the course requirement. They ranged
in age from 18 to 22 years (M19, SD 1.19). Just over half
(52%) said they had personal contact with disabled people less
than once per month; fewer reported contact once a month or more
(48%). Sixteen percent identified as ethnic minorities, and 38%
personally experienced physical (n8), psychiatric (n3),
learning (n7), sensory (n4), chronic health, or other dis-
abling conditions (n7).
Measures. The mood, stereotyping, and attitude scales were
identical to those used in Experiment 1. Contact with disabled
people was assessed with a single item (R. Brown, Vivian, &
Hewstone, 1999) asking how frequently participants had one to
one contact with people known to experience a disability with
options ranging from never (1) to daily (7). These responses were
then recoded into two categories (less than once per month or once
per month or higher). In order to capture behavioral intentions,
participants were asked about their willingness to volunteer for an
upcoming campus accessibility project. They were told that in the
near future, on-site researchers would be interviewing students
with sensory, learning, and physical disabilities from area colleges
to gather ideas about how to make the campus more welcoming
and accessible to students with disabilities. They were asked to
indicate how many 10- to 15-min scripted interviews they were
willing to conduct from a list of eight options that ranged from 15
min (conduct one interview) to 120 min (conduct eight interviews),
and included an option for those not willing to volunteer. All were
told they would be contacted later to set up appointments at their
Procedure. Participants were scheduled individually to take
part in three different disability simulations (low vision, hearing
loss, and dyslexia), presented in that order. They completed pretest
measures when arriving for the study. To control for stimulus
content and activity duration, each simulation used a modified
version of the same 102-word paragraph describing a generic set of
driving directions. Prior to the first simulation, participants were
told, “Now you are going to simulate low vision. Please wear these
goggles and read this text out loud at a normal pace.” Prior to the
second activity, participants were told, “Now you are going to
simulate a hearing impairment. Please put the earplugs in your ears
and wear these headphones. Listen to what I am going to read to
you.” For the final activity, they were instructed, “Now you are
going to simulate a reading disability. Please read this text out loud
at a normal pace.” Following each simulation, participants were
given 3 min to write out their impressions prior to completing
posttest measures. All were thoroughly debriefed, and reminded
that while popular with educators, disability simulations have also
been criticized as not accurately representing the disability expe-
rience (French, 1996).
Results and Discussion
Experiment 1
To examine the impact of the disability simulations on mood,
stereotypic descriptions, and attitudes toward disabled people, a 3
(disability simulation type) 2 (pre-post score) mixed-model
analysis of variance (ANOVA) was performed separately for each
dependent variable. Although we had no a priori prediction about
the impact of the different simulation exercises, Table 1 provides
the means and standard deviations for significant main effects and
interactions (e.g., when changes were greater among those simu-
lating mobility compared to hearing or learning disabilities).
Changes in mood. As shown in Table 1, the POMS-SF results
revealed that overall participants felt more confusion postsimulation
compared to baseline, F(1, 53) 18.55, p.001. Following the
simulations, they also reported more anxiety, F(1, 53) 5.14, p
.03, and this difference interacted with the type of simulation per-
formed, F(2, 53) 5.51, p.01. Simple effects showed that
compared to baseline, anxiety levels were nearly twice as high for
those who simulated a mobility impairment, F(1, 53) 5.77, p.02,
and also increased for those who read a paragraph backward to
simulate dyslexia, F(1, 53) 5.98, p.02. Anxiety levels did not
increase reliably among those who wore earplugs to simulate hearing
loss. Compared to baseline, participants reported feeling less fatigued
postsimulation, F(1, 53) 5.54, p.02, and this too depended on
simulation type, F(2, 53) 3.27, p.05. Only those who wore
earplugs while attempting to read another student’s lips were reliably
less fatigued following the simulation, F(1, 53) 15.99, p.000.
Finally, changes in hostility interacted with simulation type, F(2,
53) 4.99, p.01; only participants who simulated dyslexia
reported increased hostility, F(1, 53) 9.47, p.01.
Changes in self-stereotypes. Results from the self-ascribed
disability stereotypes measure showed that after engaging in dis-
ability simulations, participants felt more frustration, F(1, 53)
5.93, p.02, which did not depend on simulation type. Compared
to baseline, participants also felt more embarrassed, F(1, 53)
27.13, p.000, with differences interacting with simulation type,
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F(2, 53) 5.40, p.01. Simple effects showed participants were
six times more embarrassed after simulating a mobility impair-
ment, F(1, 53) 14.33, p.000, and after simulating dyslexia,
F(1, 53) 20.75, p.000. Similarly, feelings of helplessness
increased postsimulation, F(1, 53) 37.89, p.000, with dif-
ferences contingent on simulation type, F(2, 53) 7.34, p.01.
Helplessness scores more than doubled among those who simu-
lated dyslexia, F(1, 53) 9.54, p.01, and increased fourfold
among those who simulated mobility impairment, F(1, 53)
27.64, p.000.
Changes in disability attitudes. In terms of attitudes toward
interacting with disabled people, only one subscale of the IDPS
approached significance. Following the simulations, participants
tended to feel more vulnerable about disability, F(1, 53) 2.90,
p.09; that is, they became more aware of the possibility they
themselves could have a disability someday. After the simulation,
participants also expressed more empathetic concern (warmth)
toward people with disabilities than before, F(1, 53) 16.11, p
.000. Across outcomes, no other main effects or interactions were
Of participants who provided qualitative feedback,
44% reported the simulations made them think they understood
what it means to be disabled; only 12% criticized the simulations
as inauthentic.
Since 30% (n18) of participants indicated experiencing some type
of disabling condition themselves, we also examined whether pre–post test
scores varied as a function of participants’ disability status. Only two main
effects of disability status effects were observed: Compared to disabled
participants, nondisabled participants felt more active and more attractive
overall. No significant interactions with disability status emerged. How-
ever, in these analyses, results for the increase in perceived vulnerability to
disability were significant, F(1, 58) 4.74, p.03.
Table 1
Means and Standard Deviations for Outcome Variables That Changed Significantly From
Pretest to Posttest Overall, and Within Specific Simulation (Experiment 1) and Contact
Conditions (Experiment 2)
Experiment 1 Experiment 2
Pretest Posttest Pretest Posttest
Confused 0.75 (0.50) 1.10 (0.69) 0.91 (0.52) 1.28 (0.65)
Anxious 0.78 (0.67) 0.92 (0.82) 0.73 (0.68) 0.91 (0.79)
Depressed 0.42 (0.63) 0.62 (0.69)
Fatigued 1.43 (0.87) 1.16 (0.92)
Hostile 0.38 (0.59) 0.55 (0.72)
Active 1.38 (0.77) 0.92 (0.84)
Self-stereotypic traits
Frustrated 0.77 (0.89) 1.11 (1.14)
Embarrassed 0.25 (0.58) 0.98 (1.12) 0.40 (0.81) 0.92 (1.01)
Helpless 0.36 (0.67) 0.98 (1.23) 0.44 (0.84) 0.88 (1.04)
Competent 2.12 (1.15) 1.54 (1.25)
Guilty 0.44 (0.86) 0.72 (1.03)
Empathy (warmth) 77.91 (17.10) 82.36 (15.42) 75.64 (15.20) 79.50 (15.79)
Interaction attitudes—IDPS
Vulnerable to disability 0.64 (1.48) 0.90 (1.51)
0.77 (1.43) 1.18 (1.51)
Discomfort interacting 1.42 (1.08) 1.25 (1.30)
Pity of disabled people 1.68 (1.00) 1.87 (0.96)
Wheelchair condition
Confused 0.51 (0.51) 1.19 (0.66)
Anxious 0.74 (0.44) 1.34 (0.89)
Embarrassed 0.29 (0.76) 1.86 (1.21)
Helpless 0.57 (0.79) 2.43 (1.13)
Dyslexia condition
Anxious 0.72 (0.65) 1.03 (0.82)
Hostile 0.47 (0.67) 0.82 (0.94)
Embarrassed 0.15 (0.46) 1.11 (1.12)
Helpless 0.37 (0.74) 0.93 (1.07)
Hearing-loss condition
Fatigued 1.35 (0.83) 0.83 (0.71)
Contact Once per month
Anxious 0.65 (0.49) 1.03 (0.68)
Depressed 0.28 (0.34) 0.65 (0.63)
Frustrated 0.50 (0.58) 1.00 (1.06)
Guilty 0.54 (0.99) 1.04 (1.25)
Note. Unless indicated, only significant pre-post results are reported (ps.05). POMS-SF and self-stereotype
ratings were made on 0- to 4-point scales, IDPS on 3to3 scales, and empathy (warmth) on a 0 –100 scale.
POMS-SF Profile of Mood States—Short Form; IDPS Interaction with Disabled People Scale.
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Consistent with predictions, following participation in one of
three disability simulations, people experienced more anxiety,
especially when simulating mobility and learning disabilities.
However, they were less fatigued—particularly when simulating
hearing loss, trying to decipher an oral communication while
wearing ear plugs. Hostility also increased for those who read a
text backward to simulate dyslexia. Overall, simulating disabilities
led to increased feelings of confusion and frustration, embarrass-
ment, and helplessness—traits often associated with disability
stereotypes. Increased feelings of embarrassment and helplessness
were especially pronounced among those who simulated mobility
and learning disabilities. Although most of the attitudinal measures
were not reliably affected, following the simulations, participants
reported feeling warmer toward people with disabilities. This
finding suggests that under certain conditions, simulations might
contribute to empathetic concern and positive behavioral inten-
tions toward improving access for disabled people as a group. To
examine this possibility, a second study was conducted to replicate
and extend these findings. This second study also explored
whether the effects of simulating disability depended on the fre-
quency with which participants interacted with disabled people.
Experiment 2
To examine the impact of the simulations on mood, stereotypic
descriptions, attitudes, and behavioral intentions as a function of
interpersonal contact, a 2 (contact: less than once per month, more
than once per month) 2 (pre-post score) mixed-model ANOVA
was performed separately for each dependent variable.
Changes in mood. As shown in Table 1, after completing the
three disability simulations, participants were more confused, F(1,
48) 24.43, p.000, less active, F(1, 48) 42.28, p.000, and
more hostile, F(1, 48) 4.33, p.05, compared to baseline. After
the simulations, participants also felt more depressed, F(1, 48)
5.48, p.02, and this effect depended on frequency of contact,
F(1, 48) 4.58, p.04. Specifically, depression increased
reliably only for those who interacted with disabled people less
than once per month, F(1, 48) 10.45, p.01. Similarly,
changes in anxiety depended on frequency of contact, F(1, 48)
4.39, p.04; only those who infrequently interacted with disabled
people showed increased levels of anxiety, F(1, 48) 7.45, p
Changes in self-stereotypes. Results from the self-ascribed
disability stereotypes showed that after engaging in disability
simulations, participants felt more helpless, F(1, 48) 8.17, p
.01, less competent, F(1, 48) 15.40, p.000, more embar-
rassed, F(1, 48) 15.31, p.000, and more guilty, F(1, 48)
5.97, p.02, compared to baseline. Changes in guilt depended on
frequency of contact, F(1, 48) 4.27, p.05; guilt reliably
increased only for those interacting with disabled people less than
once per month, F(1, 48) 10.59, p.01. Frustration levels also
interacted with contact, F(1, 48) 4.95, p.03. Again, only
those with less contact showed reliable increases in frustration,
F(1, 48) 5.80, p.02.
Changes in disability attitudes and behavioral intentions.
Consistent with Study 1, following the simulations, participants
felt more vulnerable about becoming disabled themselves, F(1,
48) 13.93, p.01. Furthermore after simulating disability,
participants expressed more discomfort about interacting, F(1,
48) 4.38, p.05, and more pity toward people with disabilities,
F(1, 48) 4.38, p.05. Replicating Experiment 1, ratings of
warmth toward people with disabilities increased post simulation,
F(1, 48) 7.75, p.01. However, the simulation activities did
not translate into a greater willingness to volunteer to improve
campus accessibility (F1). On average, participants were will-
ing to volunteer for one interview with disabled students before
(M22.31 min) and after (M19.21 min) the simulations.
Across outcomes, no other main effects or interactions were sig-
However, participants’ open-ended comments about the
experience were instructive: “It was horrible” (106). “It made it
hard to imagine ever living with a disability” (216). “You feel like
you are stupid” (109). “I felt uncapable [sic]” (122). Yet, some
remained convinced that these activities allowed them “to experi-
ence what they go through” (123).
Extending Study 1, a combination of disability simulations
increased negative moods producing more confusion, depression,
anger, and a less active orientation. Consistent with this idea,
simulations of disability left people feeling more stereotypically
disabled themselves: more helpless, less competent, and more
embarrassed and guilty. In fact, guilt, frustration and anxiety
increased most among those who interacted with disabled people
the least. Study 2 also found that a combination of disability
simulations actually worsened attitudes about interacting with dis-
abled people in the future. After completing all three simulation
activities, people expressed more pity and discomfort about meet-
ing someone with a disability, and felt more vulnerable about
becoming disabled themselves. Although empathetic concern
(warmth) toward disabled people increased, willingness to volun-
teer to increase campus access did not.
General Discussion
Advancing the limited research on the impact of simulating
physical, cognitive, and sensory impairments for emotional reac-
tions, self-stereotypes, attitudes, and behavioral intentions, the
present investigation documents several negative consequences of
these popular interventions. For the first time, across disabled and
nondisabled participants in field and laboratory experiments, sim-
ulating disabilities increased negative emotions and self-ascribed
disability stereotypes while heightening feelings of empathetic
concern (warmth) toward disabled people as a group. Both exper-
iments left people feeling more confused, anxious, embarrassed,
helpless, and more vulnerable to becoming disabled themselves. In
both studies simulations failed to improve attitudes about interact-
ing with disabled people. In fact, in Experiment 2, interaction
attitudes worsened, and people were not more willing to interview
disabled students for a campus accessibility project. Replicating
previous psychiatric simulation studies (Ando et al., 2011), and in
line with meta-analyses (Flower et al., 2007), the utility of dis-
ability simulations was not supported—they led to more harm,
undermining the goal of improved understanding.
Negative outcomes were most pronounced when participants
simulated physical impairments and reading disabilities (Experi-
ment 1), and for those who had less familiarity with disabled
people (Experiment 2). Although our field experiment showed less
Disability status effects were not replicated in Experiment 2, nor did
disability status moderate any results.
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evidence of attitude change, negative attitudes and self-stereotypes
clearly emerged in the lab. Under these more controlled condi-
tions, not only did people feel more vulnerable about becoming
disabled themselves, they also expressed more pity, more interac-
tion discomfort, and felt less competent after the simulations than
before. Other research corroborates that pity is a likely response to
noncompetitive groups like disabled people stereotyped as both
warm and incompetent (Cuddy et al., 2008). Sometimes expres-
sions of warmth may reflect empathetic concern, but may also
disguise paternalistic intentions, and the imposition of unwanted
helping and control over those stereotyped as legitimate depen-
dents like children, elderly people, and disabled people (Nario-
Redmond, 2017). Future work is needed to disentangle these
ambivalent reactions.
As demonstrated in the perspective taking literature, imagining
oneself in the position of another can result in distress and self-
stereotyping when the self– other divide becomes blurred, espe-
cially when the situation is threatening (Batson, Early, & Salva-
rani, 1997; Galinsky et al., 2008). Disability is a permeable group
membership that anyone can join and many will—at least tempo-
rarily. If simulating impairments heightens one’s perceived vul-
nerability to disability—not to mention perceived helplessness and
incompetence—feelings of alarm, a desire to distance, and avoid-
ance of help may follow. We found evidence for all of these
reactions: emotional distress, the taking on of disability stereo-
types, increased interaction discomfort, and little interest in help-
ing to improve access on campus. Recall that when simulating
impairments, participants are not taking the perspective of a dis-
abled person as much as they are imagining themselves as having
a new disability. Under these imagine-self conditions, more self-
oriented empathy and egotistical concerns trigger personal distress
and undermine altruistic responding as Batson’s extensive research
program clearly demonstrates (Batson, Early, & Salvarani, 1997;
Batson, Polycarpou, et al., 1997). However, in contrast to previous
imagine-self manipulations (Batson et al., 2003), we found that
generosity in the form of volunteer time was not increased, even
though our participants were arguably in the position of having an
unearned privilege. That is, the self-focused experience of simu-
lating disability did not encourage support for more equitable
outcomes as it did in previous studies where participants focused
on how they would want to be treated in a similar situation. Future
research should examine how shifting the focus to the disabling
and discriminatory aspects of society might alter these results
(Barney, 2012). Perspective-taking research could also examine
how perceptions of environmental accessibility depend on whether
resources are presented as constrained (funds are limited or allo-
cated only to specific groups) or unconstrained (accommodations
are universal or not at the expense of others). Several lines of
inquiry suggest that when people imagine—not themselves, but
how others in need feel— empathetic responding and altruistic
motivation is maximized while threats to self are minimized (Bat-
son, 2010).
Some of the limitations of this research relate to our pre-post
design which does not support strong causal inferences or the
internal validity of a randomized control group design. Our first
experiment also took advantage of campus-wide disability aware-
ness programming; yet student participants were still randomly
assigned to the simulation stations. Despite participating in only
one brief simulation, this field experiment was powerful enough to
reliably impact several mood indices, self-stereotyping measures,
and ratings of empathetic concern. More control over the simula-
tion activities was achieved in Experiment 2, which utilized three
simulations but did not control for order. Completing all three
simulations consecutively provided for a strong manipulation,
similar to most educational interventions. Unlike Experiment 1,
however, there was no way to determine if any of the specific
simulations had unique effects. Nevertheless, these studies make
an important contribution documenting the negative effects of
disability simulations, which have received little empirical atten-
tion since so often disability awareness activities are conducted
without an evaluative component (Flower et al., 2007).
There is much potential for future research to establish the
parameters of alternative forms of perspective taking as they relate
to disability. As we demonstrated, intervention impacts are some-
times more pronounced in different contexts and depend on par-
ticipant characteristics. For example, in our second study, those
with more frequent interpersonal contact with disabled people did
not experience increased negative affect the way other participants
did. Studies of psychiatric simulations have found similar caveats
where reduced empathy was observed only among those with low
levels of initial empathy (Bunn & Terpstra, 2009), or attitude
improvements were limited to those with prior negative attitudes
(Galletly & Burton, 2011). Other individual differences related to
contagion fears, death anxiety and body image may also moderate
effects in addition to target stereotypicality. Similarly, inclusive
settings that produce more accurate representations of disability
are likely to reveal different results compared to segregated con-
One of the pioneers of rehabilitation psychology, Beatrice
Wright (1980) warned that experiences that promote fear, aver-
sion, and guilt often fail to contribute to constructive perspectives
about disability. Evidence indicates that disability simulations are
producing these exact outcomes, which should prompt educators
and practitioners to consider their goals. If the goal is to establish
how an acquired physical impairment can be frustrating to a new
wheelchair user or how sudden onset blindness can be scary, then
disability simulations may do the trick.
We suggest an alternative goal would be to increase awareness
of architectural barriers, discriminatory public policy, and curric-
ular restrictions for people with disabilities. Instead of simulating
a spinal cord injury, students could be instructed to test mobility
equipment to identify environmental barriers and ableist reactions
(Pivik et al., 2002). Instead of pretending to be blind, students
could evaluate the clarity of Web-based audio descriptions, the
decipherability of text to speech software, or the time it takes to
hail a cab or rent an apartment (see also Blaser, 2003; Lalvani &
Broderick, 2013; Silverman, 2015). More importantly, if the goal
is to understand the creative solutions people have discovered
while navigating inaccessible spaces and civil rights violations, we
recommend communicating with people living and working with
various impairments. Disability rights activists have created blogs
specifically devoted to challenging traditional simulations, and
promoting disability as a positive cultural identity (Hitselberger,
2016; Ladau, 2016). Others suggest infusing disability into train-
ing programs as a facet of human diversity, similar to other social
group memberships like race, gender, and sexuality, or inviting
speakers to dialog, and shadowing members of the disability
community (Asch & McCarthy, 2003). Some of the most effective
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interventions use multiple approaches to disrupt stereotypes, ex-
pose discrimination, and arrange for equal-status contact with
disabled people over several weeks (Linsdsay & Edwards, 2013).
There is also an emerging literature on ableism (Campbell, 2009;
Nario-Redmond, 2017) that should be uniformly included in the
multicultural training of undergraduate and graduate students
Educators and rehabilitation professionals have a responsibility
to provide students and clients with contemporary, accurate rep-
resentations of disability informed by best practices such as expo-
sure to first-hand accounts of varied disability experiences (Wood,
2014). Let us stop perpetuating dated, artificial, and degrading
simulations that diminish those living with disability. Practitioners
would not consider appropriating the identities of religious, ethnic,
or sexual minority groups even if motivated to better understand
their circumstances. Since the 1990s, researchers have repeatedly
called for the cessation of traditional disability simulations based
on scant evidence for their effectiveness (French, 1996; Herbert,
2000). In 2007, an analysis evaluating simulation studies con-
ducted between 1969 and 1996 recommended discontinuation of
the “questionable practice,” noting that “disability simulation is an
ineffective practice among adults” (Flower et al., 2007, p. 77).
Seven years later, a review of disability awareness interventions
for children and youth from 1980 to 2011 also concluded that the
evidence failed to support the effectiveness of disability simula-
tions (Lindsay & Edwards, 2013). Our studies reaffirm these
recommendations with evidence establishing the detrimental im-
pacts of disability simulation for emotional well-being, self-
stereotypes, and interaction attitudes. It is our hope that this call for
reform is in progress, and that future interventions aim toward
increasing the participation and equality of people who experience
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Received July 30, 2016
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Accepted January 17, 2017
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... 464) compared to control groups. Next, Nario-Redmond et al. (2017) concluded that "simulating disabilities promotes distress and fails to improve attitudes toward disabled people" (p. 324). ...
... Closer inspection of this body of literature reveals important procedural differences between studies reporting negative and positive results. In the two studies reporting negative effects (Nario-Redmond, et al., 2017;Silverman et al., 2015), four separate experiments included activities where individual students reported to a lab or field setting to perform a series of challenging and monotonous tasks before completing surveys regarding the experience. Additionally, the DSA appeared to be unrelated to the courses from which students were recruited. ...
... Second, unlike studies demonstrating positive findings (Colwell, 2012), we followed a rigorous study design to compare between-group effects. Contrary to previous experimental studies indicating DSA either reduced (Nario-Redmond et al., 2017;Silverman et al., 2015) or improved positive attitudes toward people with VI (Colwell, 2012), this research indicated participation in a low-vision simulation had no effect on pre-service teachers' self-efficacy or attitude. Additionally, participation had no effect on mastery of content. ...
... Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences lack of research regarding effectiveness, as much of the research surrounding simulations describes steps to hosting a disability simulation (27). A recent study examined this issue and found that across two experiments, students who completed low vision, hearing impairment, dyslexia, or mobility impairment simulations felt more confused, embarrassed, helpless, and susceptible to becoming disabled after the simulation compared to baseline (26). Additionally, the study found that while empathetic concern increased in both studies, participants ultimately expressed greater discomfort about interacting with persons with disabilities following the simulation (26). ...
... A recent study examined this issue and found that across two experiments, students who completed low vision, hearing impairment, dyslexia, or mobility impairment simulations felt more confused, embarrassed, helpless, and susceptible to becoming disabled after the simulation compared to baseline (26). Additionally, the study found that while empathetic concern increased in both studies, participants ultimately expressed greater discomfort about interacting with persons with disabilities following the simulation (26). Therefore, there is some evidence that traditional disability simulations do not fulfill their stated goals of improving attitudes and increasing understanding. ...
... This idea was supported by a meta-analysis examining ten disability simulations that suggested, based on effect sizes, that there was little evidence to suggest that disability simulations effectively improve attitudes towards people with disability (27). In fact, some researchers have noted that disability simulations not only fail to show the reality of disabilities, but they also actually perpetuate the stereotypes of incompetence and dependency (26). These simulations have been critiqued as misleading participants to think that the source of disadvantages is the person with the disability, while ignoring environmental barriers and government policies that are discriminatory and stigmatizing towards some people (26), leading to harmful effects. ...
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People with disability often experience stigma and discrimination, and people with disability in rural areas may experience these at higher rates. Additionally, people with disability in rural areas may have fewer opportunities for physical and social participation due to barriers in the built environment. Activities such as disability simulations and inclusive, interdisciplinary community planning workshops (i.e., I2Audits) seek to draw awareness to and address these problematic experiences. The present study used thematic analysis from qualitative research to examine the advantages and disadvantages of using disability simulations and I2Audits in rural communities. Findings suggest that disability simulations increase stigmatization, lead to feelings of embarrassment and discomfort, and do not capture the experiences of people with disability. On the other hand, I2Audits lead to meaningful environmental changes, create feelings of empowerment, and center the lived experiences of people with disability within a bio-psycho-social model of disability. Results suggest that not only can I2Audits be a powerful tool to draw attention to physical barriers that people with disability face, but they also draw attention to the multi-level changes needed to increase opportunities for participation and address sources of stigma and discrimination in rural areas.
... Des actions de simulation ont également été testées auprès d'enfants ou d'étudiants (Ando et al., 2011;Eiring, 1996;Houston, 1991;McGowan, 1999;Nario-Redmond et al., 2017;Wilson & Alcorn, 1969) voire plusieurs années (Levin et al., 2003). De plus, une étude menée en Israël, dans différentes organisations, auprès de plus de 800 salariés, a toutefois montré que le contact entre des personnes juives et musulmanes au travail, a augmenté le désir de rencontrer les membres de l'autre groupe en dehors du travail. ...
... Les auteurs concluent sur des effets contradictoires puisque, dans les études intégrées à l'analyse, les simulations augmentent l'empathie associée à la maladie, mais aussi le désir de distance sociale, avec les personnes qui en sont atteintes. Récemment, deux études réalisées auprès d'étudiants ont montré que des actions de simulations du handicap augmentent leur empathie à l'égard des étudiants en situation de handicap mais échouent à améliorer leurs attitudes face au handicap(Nario- Redmond et al., 2017). Dans ces études, les étudiants participaient à une action de sensibilisation au handicap via une simulation de la surdité (i.e. ...
Réduire la stigmatisation des personnes en situation de handicap est un enjeu de société important mais complexe, qui nécessite des interventions efficaces. Cette question de la stigmatisation préoccupe également les entreprises. Pour favoriser l'accès à l'emploi des personnes en situation de handicap et leur maintien en emploi, il semble nécessaire de réduire leur stigmatisation. Les travaux de recherche sur les relations intergroupes des cinquante dernières années ont montré que les personnes en contact avec des membres exogroupes, réduisent les stéréotypes et préjugés à leur égard, dès les premiers contacts, et face à des groupes variés. Par la suite, d'autres études se sont intéressées au contact indirect comme le contact via une vidéo ou le contact imaginé. Ces contacts indirects seraient également efficaces pour réduire les préjugés face à un exogroupe, mais parfois dans une moindre mesure. Pour renforcer les études sur le contact intergroupe comme moyen de réduire les préjugés face au handicap, nos travaux se sont intéressés aux contacts imaginé, vidéo et incarné, avec comme objectif d'adresser certaines limites existantes dans ce champ de recherche. La thèse principale défendue ici stipule que les effets du contact imaginé, relevant principalement de l'élaboration et de l'imagination, se maintiendraient à long terme. De plus, outre la réduction des préjugés par un changement de perspective cognitive (i.e. contact vidéo et imaginé), le changement de perspective corporelle serait également un moyen efficace de réduire les préjugés (i.e. contact incarné). Ces interventions sont efficaces pour réduire les préjugés face au handicap chez des salariés d'entreprise, et donc généralisables hors du milieu sanitaire et médico-social. Pour soutenir cette thèse, les effets du contact imaginé ont été étudiés en lien avec le niveau d'élaboration cognitive de la tâche d'imagination, afin de comprendre la place de ce processus dans la diminution des attitudes négatives face à la maladie mentale (étude 1). Les effets du contact imaginé ont ensuite été étudiés à moyen terme (étude 2) puis, afin d'en généraliser au maximum les effets, à plus long terme et chez des salariés (étude 3). Le contact vidéo a également été étudié à court, moyen et long terme chez des salariés (étude 3). Par la suite, une action de sensibilisation proposée en entreprise, visant à permettre aux salariés de changer de perspective à un niveau corporel, en réalisant un atelier de cuisine en situation de handicap, a été testée (étude 4). Enfin, de façon plus exploratoire et fondamentale, le contact incarné a été étudié par la mise en situation de handicap dans une tâche d'immobilisation, chez des étudiants (étude 5).Nos résultats ont permis de renforcer la validité du contact imaginé, comme relevant principalement de l'imagination et de l'élaboration dans la tâche, et de fait pas d'un effet de demande expérimentale. Les effets du contact imaginé sur la réduction de la stigmatisation de la maladie mentale ont également été montrés à long terme, sur plus de six mois, et ont été généralisés à des salariés d'une grande entreprise du secteur de l'énergie (i.e. hors du secteur sanitaire et médico-social). Toutefois, le contact imaginé n'a pas permis de réduire les biais implicites face à la maladie mentale dans notre étude et les effets du contact vidéo semblent faibles. En outre, le contact incarné semble une piste prometteuse pour réduire les attitudes implicites face au handicap. Cette thèse CIFRE avait également pour objectif de proposer le contenu d'un outil de formation en ligne, à destination de tous les salariés de l'entreprise (GRDF). Ce cahier des charges a été rédigé au regard des résultats de ces travaux, et plus largement des avancées scientifiques dans le champ des relations intergroupes. Finalement, l'ensemble de ces résultats est discuté et des pistes de recherches futures sont proposées.
... The second paper is by Tigwell [92], who investigated how to support digital designers so that they do not rely on using disability simulations in place of collaborating with disabled people during the design process (see [8,36,64,92] for a deeper refection on issues surrounding disability simulations). Seventeen blind, low vision, and color blind interviewees suggested changing design workplace processes, culture, and stafng, as well as encouraging digital designers to connect with local and national organizations, and recruiting disabled people online for evaluations. ...
... Our participant refected on design tools guiding accessibility and it was evident that the industry is doing this to some extent. P1 (Urban, India) mentioned color blind simulations in Figma, yet there are many criticisms surrounding disability simulations (e.g., [8,36,64]). Other ideas included checklists, benchmarking tools, personal narratives from people with diferent disabilities, and wikis. ...
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Digital designers often do not make their work accessible (e.g., websites failing criteria set by the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), and accessible design research discusses many solutions to address this problem (e.g., teaching accessibility within university design and technical courses). However, prior research in this area typically does not acknowledge whether recommendations and resources to support accessible design are suitable for all digital designers due to different training pathways and job support structures (e.g., large-company vs. rural and self-employed designers or designers who learned their skills outside of formal education settings). We interviewed 20 digital designers from rural and urban areas, as well as working from home and remotely, to understand the challenges they experience in making accessible content within the context of their workplace. We find that job support structures mediate the effectiveness of current accessible design recommendations and resources, and we suggest how to improve accessible design support to meet the needs of under-resourced designers.
... Los primeros resultados indican que las consecuencias son negativas para la inclusión de las personas con discapacidad visual (Andrews et al., 2019). Curiosamente, estos sentimientos aparecen en personas sin discapacidad, tras experiencias de simulación (Nario-Redmond et al., 2017). ...
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Se presenta la creación de un cuestionario para la evaluación de factores ambientales relevantes en el déficit visual, basado en el capítulo de barreras ambientales de la Clasificación Internacional del Funcionamiento, la Discapacidad y la Salud de la Organización Mundial de la Salud. El cuestionario, denominado BAC-DV, tiene dos partes: un inventario de barreras físicas y tecnológicas y un cuestionario de actitudes. La selección inicial del contenido se realizó a partir de análisis de narrativas de entrevistas, revisión de la literatura y juicio de expertos. Se realizaron dos estudios empíricos. En el primero se calculó la fiabilidad de las dos partes y se eliminaron algunas preguntas poco representativas. El segundo estudio se centró en el inventario de barreras físicas y tecnológicas y permitió obtener su estructura, así como estudiar las características de los ítems. El inventario de barreras tiene cinco escalas: Exteriores, Interiores, Productos de la vida cotidiana, Tecnología de la información y comunicación y Obstáculos. El cuestionario de actitudes tiene tres escalas: Prejuicio, Condescendencia y Discriminación. Son necesarios estudios posteriores de validez y estructura, pero se puede afirmar que BAC-DV tiene validez de contenido y consistencia
... The positive results from these empathy exercises are in line with experiences of teachers in design education [6] but in contrast to an article about negative attitudes empathy exercises can create [7]. Possibly, the reason for creating a positive attitude from empathy exercises is dependent on the creative focus on how to design or change the environment, instead of focusing on how it would feel to have the difficulties yourself. ...
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Persons with stress-related disorders, mental disorders and neuropsychiatric disabilities are in particular vulnerable to cognitive challenges at the workplace. The barriers faced by persons with communicative, social and cognitive disabilities are most often invisible to persons in the environment. The objective of the study presented in this paper is to develop and test a tool that increases awareness by inviting persons without disabilities to experience how cognitive barriers can look like in the workplace. Three 360-degree films were developed iteratively in close collaboration with users. Each film has one part highlighting difficulties and one part highlighting solutions. The films were evaluated with employers, employment experts, special support persons, HR staff and students. The results show that the films were realistic and useful for both supporting employment and for general awareness and insight.
... For example, see Nario-Redmond et al.(Nario-Redmond et al. 2017). 5 For example, seeScullion (1996),Burgstahler and Doe (2004).38R. ...
Education is a centrally important human good because it fosters the development of intellectual, moral and civic virtues necessary for a robust liberal democracy. Moreover, education is critical because it cultivates the development of valuable skills for work and for life. Accordingly, debates about justice, democracy, equality, and inclusion often focus on questions about the kinds of education people should receive, how scarce educational goods should be distributed, and the role of education in responding to historical and ongoing injustices. The 16 essays in this volume explore these kinds of pressing ethical, political, and legal issues from a range of interdisciplinary perspectives, including law, philosophy, and political science. They engage broadly with both core concepts and contemporary issues on topics including education justice, inclusive education, free speech, affirmative action, democratic citizenship, equal opportunity, and civility.
This paper examines the ways in which K-12 schools pass on attitudes towards disability, and argues that schools ought to promote values associated with rights foregrounding rights. Many address disability within education with the goal of creating a culture where disability is treated primarily as a matter of care or made wholly invisible. This paper argues that this approach is misguided. Neither “caring for” the disabled and “normalizing” disability, and argue that neither is sufficient for creating a democratic society where disabled people are treated as equals.
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Following social identity theory, the present investigation examines the political benefits of self-identification as a member of the disability community for disability-rights advocacy across college (n = 204), community (N = 93), and international (N = 268) samples of adults with disabilities. Consistent with predictions, emerging adults (EAs) with disabilities (n = 204) demonstrated more political conviction and were twice as likely to be involved in disability-rights advocacy as nondisabled peers (n = 1,111). Studies 2 and 3 revealed that disability identification predicted disability-rights advocacy, preferences for affiliation with other disabled people, and stronger perceptions of solidarity, personal, and group discrimination. Age-group moderated effects in Study 2 such that EAs least identified as disabled reported the lowest levels of solidarity and the least awareness of discrimination. Implications of social identification for the political involvements of stigmatized groups are discussed along with complexities related to age, impairment visibility, and duration of disability.
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Disability is a part of ordinary human experience-a characteristic much like race or gender, which may subject individuals to stigma, preju-dice, and discrimination. Yet research and teaching within psychology have paid relatively little attention to the issues of people with disabilities, even though disability will impinge on virtually everyone's life. Although clini-cal, counseling, and rehabilitation psychology do provide help with physi-cal, cognitive, and emotional impairments, there is little understanding of the experiences of people with disabilities in a society that does not always accept them and, indeed, is unaware of the systemic nature of its discrimina-tion. In incorporating disability issues into their courses, instructors can help students shift from thinking of disabilities as flaws to be rehabilitated to view-ing people with disabilities as a minority group with civil rights (Americans Adrienne Asch thanks Carrie Griffin, for excellent research and critical reading, and Taran Jefferies and Lili Schwan-Rosenwald for their as-ever, superb work in making this chapter useful to today's students. Henry McCarthy thanks four outstanding rehabilitation psychologists for their mentoring: Beatrice Wright, Frank Shontz, Chuck Hallenbeck, and Lenny Diller. 253 with Disabilities Act [ADA] of 1990; Fine & Asch, 1988a). Instructors can also identify and challenge psychological barriers, which are as obstructive as physical barriers, to full equality and participation for people with dis-abilities (Bickenbach, 1993). In addition, the study of disability issues can offer insights into a wide range of more general psychological phenomena, such as attribution processes, stereotyping, and identity formation (Fine & Asch, 1988a). In this chapter, we introduce key themes in recent literature on people with disabilities. We offer ideas for integrating this material into psychology courses; suggest exercises to increase awareness and sensitivity; and provide resources for helping students and their teachers delve more deeply into the wealth of literature on disability from a social, as opposed to a clinical or medical, perspective.
Disability simulation as a form of experiential learning has been a popular way for students to Ȝlearn what it is like to have a disabilityȝ in many different educational curricula from nursing to recreation. There is a lack of research detailing the efficacy of such activities, and some researchers have noted the possibility of negative results. Due to the inconsistency of how such activities are introduced and debriefed, some researchers feel that the practice should be discontinued. By introducing a new paradigm known as the Social Model of Disability, the outcome of the simulation is altered dramatically. Rather than trying to accomplish some task of daily living, the student is cued to observe social interaction. Given proper direction, students have the opportunity to confront and reintegrate their own attitudes as they view such attitudes and behaviors being expressed toward them during a simulation exercise. Measurement techniques based on the Medical Model of Disability will need to be improved or replaced in order to have consistency from design to outcome. Only then can the long-term viability of the disability simulation be accurately evaluated.
Background/Objectives: Many people with schizophrenia face stigmatisation in various social settings. Several different types of interventions have been developed to reduce stigma of schizophrenia such as protest, education, filmed contact, and personal contact. In the physical disability field there is a long history of using simulations that allow a person to directly experience a physical disability to increase empathy and understanding about the condition. In recent years, several simulation tools have been produced by organizations or companies to simulate the experience of auditory and visual hallucinations. Although some of these simulations are becoming quite widely utilised in clinical training and other settings, there has been no review of such interventions. Our systematic review aims to synthesise research evidence on (i) the effectiveness of simulated hallucinatory experience in reducing stigma; (ii) what processes underlie any effects on stigma; and (iii) the acceptability of the interventions to participants. Methods: The systematic review followed the guidelines of the Meta-analysis Of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (MOOSE) group. Electronic database searches were conducted using Medline, Embase, PsycInfo, Cochrane Library, CINAHL, and Worldcat Dissertations and Theses from 1980 to September 2010. Reference checking, hand-searching of relevant journals, and contacting of experts in the field were performed in addition to the electronic database search. The quality of each paper was assessed with established evaluation tools. Data extraction and synthesis was conducted separately for different design of studies by tabulating effect sizes for quantitative studies and by meta-ethnographic synthesis for qualitative studies, and combined narratively thereafter. Results: After screening of titles, abstracts, and full texts, 9 studies were found to meet inclusion criteria from a total of 6,690 titles identified by the electronic database search. Two studies were identified from the other search methods, making a total of 11 eligible studies. Designs included 3 RCTs, 2 before-and-after studies, 2 surveys, 1 mixed methods study, and 3 qualitative studies. Results will be presented on effects of the intervention on three aspects of stigma: social distance, attitudes and empathy. The review findings on possible harm, processes underlying changes in stigma outcomes, and acceptability will also be presented. Discussion/Conclusions: Implications of the review for anti-stigma programmes and for future research will be discussed. Funding: Independent research commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) under its Programme Grants for Applied Research scheme (grant no. RP-PG-0606–1053). Keywords: Stigmatisation, hallucination simulation, schizophrenia.
People often blindfold themselves to try to understand what it is like to be blind. Though this “blindness simulation” can trigger empathy toward blind people, it can also mislead people about blindness, because it highlights the initial trauma of becoming blind rather than the realities of being blind. In this article, I review disability research and scholarship on the positive and negative effects of disability simulations, showing that such simulations promote empathy but can also promote discrimination. In order to accurately teach about blindness, teaching exercises should incorporate mastery of blindness skills and meaningful contact with other blind people. More research is needed to determine how blindfolded learning should be best incorporated into the curriculum for training teachers of the blind.
Simulating other people’s difficulties often improves attitudes toward those people. In the case of physical disabilities, however, such experience simulations can backfire. By highlighting the initial challenges of becoming disabled, experience simulations decrease the perceived adaptability of being disabled and reduce the judged capabilities of disabled people. In two experiments, participants engaged in a challenging blindness simulation and afterward judged blind people as less capable of work and independent living than did participants after simulating a different impairment (Experiment 1), no impairment (Experiments 1 and 2), or after merely watching someone else simulate blindness (Experiment 2). Blindness simulators forecast that they would be less capable themselves if blind and that they would adapt to blindness more slowly (Experiment 2), highlighting the self-centered nature of judged capabilities of disabled people. The findings demonstrate that experience simulation can sometimes harm rather than help attitudes toward other people’s difficulties.