Reactions vis-a-vis the disabled. Critical comments on G. H. Neumann's article: prejudices and negative attitudes towards the disabled--their origin and methods of elimination from the viewpoint: of behavioural science and biology

Zimmermann, R.; Kagelmann, H.J.

Die Rehabilitation 17(2): 77-85


ISSN/ISBN: 0034-3536
PMID: 148715
Accession: 068522245

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Neumann's opinion that prejudices towards the disabled are decisively determined by inborn reactions, i.e., the reaction towards outsiders and the fear reaction towards strangers, is put to question. Ethological and ethnological research results demonstrate that the studies of human and animal behaviour towards the "disabled" are still in an elementary stage and that hitherto available results only permit the conclusion that animals as well as human beings display a very complex and differentiated behaviour vis-a-vis the disabled. In connection with human beings this complexity is seen as evidence of the outstanding significance of societal factors--in their broadest sense--for the formation of prejudices towards the disabled. The necessity of a goal-oriented elimination of these prejudices is stressed. Furthermore, attention is drawn to terminological problems and the difficulties or comparisons between human beings and animals.