Deakin University

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Visual behaviour and dyadic interaction between people with intellectual disability and people who are non-disabled

journal contribution
posted on 2023-02-03, 02:43 authored by P O'Brien, B Tuck, Robert CumminsRobert Cummins, J Elkins
Patterns of visual dominance in human interaction have been studied by a number of authors. The purpose of the present research was to investigate the implications of these studies for interaction between people who are disabled and people who are non-disabled. It was predicted that disability would differentiate the two groups, with non-disabled partners dominating the visual interaction. Two studies are reported. The first looked at visual interaction through the two looking modes of looking while listening and looking while speaking between 16 dyads where one partner was intellectually disabled and the other non-disabled. In the second study, eight subjects who were intellectually disabled and who had participated in the first study interacted with another person who had an intellectual disability. Their looking modes were then compared between conversing with a non-disabled partner in study 1 and with those of their partner with intellectual disability in study 2. The outcome of the studies showed that subjects who were intellectually disabled did not discriminate in looking mode between partners of different intellectual levels. Conversely, subjects who were non-disabled spoke and looked significantly more when conversing with their partner who was intellectually disabled. It has been argued that overlooking and overspeaking could arise from the need for the non-disabled person to gain some sign of affiliation from their partner, or alternatively, that it might reflect a dominant non-disabled person attempting to facilitate a cooperative style.



Journal of Intellectual Disability Research




13 - 21