DSIL members

Welcome to the Disability and Social Interaction Lab!

In the Disability and Social Interaction Lab (DSIL), directed by Dr. Kathleen Bogart, we study the forgotten “ism,” ableism, or prejudice towards disability. We examine disability from a social psychological perspective, examining others’ attitudes toward disability and the way people with disabilities manage stigma. Nearly 20% of Americans have a disability, making it the largest minority group in the U.S. Our work extends social psychological theories of intergroup prejudice to examine ableism. For example, does "identifying" as a person with a disability lead to greater well being? Does a sense of disability pride protect people from ableism?

Much of our work focuses on the psychosocial implications of living with rare disorders or disabilities, such as Bell's palsy and Moebius syndrome. In the U.S., rare diseases are defined as affecting fewer than 200,000 people per year. Although there are about 7,000 different rare disorders, the 30 million Americans with rare disorders share similar challenges, including insufficient access to information, support, and treatment. Rare disorders can be stigmatizing because people with rare disorders are frequently misunderstood, isolated, and blamed. Our lab is working to build social support and resist stigma in the rare disorder community.