Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Psychology: School Psychology

First Advisor

Brea M Banks

Second Advisor

Karla J Doepke


Perception plays an important role in the human experience. The current culture of the U.S. contains an abundance of pressure to appear and behave in a certain way. People passing judgements and making assumptions based on appearance has become so heavily entrenched in U.S. culture that many do not realize the judgements they are making, the conclusions they are drawing, or the impact of negative judgement, stigma, and faulty conclusions. To shift from a culture of judgement to one of embracing differences there needs to be recognition of the judgements being made. The goal of the current study was to develop a better understanding of how appearance and description impacts how a person is perceived and by extension judged through an experimental design dissertation project. Specifically, to determine if parents are perceived differently based on the race and assumed ability status of their children, I used scenarios that included images of either a white or Black child and revealed the child as being either typically developing, having an invisible disability, or having a visible disability. Results indicate that race, ability status, and the combination of race and ability status are not significant effects on perception of parenting skill. However, parenting style preference was a significant moderator between race and ability status and perception of parenting skill. Altogether, this research may contribute to a much larger discussion about the serious impact of human perceptions, assumptions, and judgements. KEYWORDS: Perception, parenting, ability status, race


Imported from Cicciarelli_ilstu_0092E_12091.pdf


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