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Mental Orientations: Stigma and Status Essay

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Updated: May 7th, 2022

What is the research problem?

The title of the article is: “Stigma and Status: The Interrelation of Two Theoretical Perspectives.” It is a peer-reviewed article that was authored by Jeffrey W. Lucas and Jo C. Phelan. Based on the MLA citation style, the article can be cited as Lucas, Jeffrey W., and Jo C. Phelan. “Stigma and Status: The Interrelation of Two Theoretical Perspectives.” Social Psychology Quarterly 75.4 (2012): 310-333. Print.

Addressing mental orientation problems requires the knowledge of the process that results in each orientation. The article presents experimental research that seeks to establish how different mental orientations are developed in people. These orientations are stigma and status. Of greater interest by the researchers is the need to establish the processes that result in each of the orientations. The paper addresses the problem of determining the sets of social, mental, and physical attributes that result in either stigma or the attainment of status. It makes it easy to deal with the problems that germinate from these mental orientations. The research also expounds on the aspects of social exclusion and how inclusion can be attained in social interaction.

Theoretical Foundation: What theory is being tested? What are the main concepts? Which of the theoretical perspectives in social psychology is the author using?

One interesting thing in this research is that it tries to bridge two theoretical perspectives. The article tests the validity of the status characteristics theory. It is a critical theory when it comes to the exploration of different mental and physical orientations in people and how behaviors are developed during the interaction. Research concerning stigma and status tends to focus on different social features. Therefore, this research seeks to breach the gap that prevails in research through the development of conclusions that can help in exploring status and stigma beyond the confines of literature and past research.

The research integrates two critical social concepts; the stigma process and the status process. Status is derived from the status characteristics theory. The reason why the researchers focus on the two concepts is that the sets of behaviors and processes that define the orientations are widely documented in the literature. Here, the interest of the researchers is to go beyond the existing classification of characters and processes to ascertain the change in the factors that determine the orientations.

In this research, the authors deploy different theoretical perspectives on social psychology. The first theoretical perspective that has been used in this paper is the sociocultural perspective. The researchers try to understand how behaviors or social and mental orientations can be developed in different social contexts. Processes that result in behavior often emanate from the sociocultural contexts in which individuals dwell. Based on this observation, it can be argued that the search for processes that go into the development of stigma and status are molded around certain social and cultural contexts in which behaviors are generated.

The researchers have also deployed the learning theory perspective. What informs this research is the observational aspect of learning through which the researchers determine the gaps that exist in processes of determining the social and mental orientations of people. The observational aspect is also critical in this research because the research takes an experimental approach in determining the processes that go into the development of status and stigma.

Research Design

The researchers in this article opted for an experimental research design. The nature of the problem under investigation was the motivation behind the choice of this study design. It was appropriate for the researchers to choose an experimental design because they sought to determine how behaviors are derived from social contexts. The researchers partitioned the research into two phases, with eight groups representing different conditions to feature the different physical and mental attributes that determine the behavior and orientation of an individual.

The experimental research took the form of a case study through the focus on a single institution (State University). This case represented a social environment in which behaviors were developed and shaped. The final sample comprised of 323 students, with equal consideration in the representation of the two genders according to the gender patterns in the school. Random sampling was then used for assigning an equal number of participants to each condition.

Based on the two hypotheses presented by the researchers, it can be argued that the researchers sought to test the alternative hypothesis: Physical and mental characters of individuals are significant in determining the contribution of individuals in social contexts, and this determines their orientation.

Influence, which is a certain indicator of status as it comes out in the literature, was considered to be the dependent variable. The characteristics of the participants were taken as independent variables.

There were three main findings in the research. The first finding was that physical disability does not have a resounding influence on social and mental orientation. The second finding pointed out that the attributes of stigma integrate with task ability, thereby influencing the status of a person. The final finding was that task ability plays a critical role in bringing down the level of social rejection.

Ethical issues in this research were addressed in different ways. First in addressing ethical concerns was the choice of random sampling techniques that aided in reducing bias. The researchers also embraced debriefing, which aided in maintaining the orientation of the participants. The participants were notified about the details of the research and the right to participate in the research. Statistical methods were highly deployed in recording and analyzing the results to develop logical findings to embrace the accurateness of the results.

Evaluation: examining the quality of the research reported?

The research design deployed in this article resulted in quality statistical data. Based on what these researchers were seeking, it can be argued that the data that was collected in a summative form resulted in logical findings and conclusions about the questions that were under investigation. However, the recording of the findings in a summative form could have posed a problem in the interpretation stage of the qualitative information that was collected by the researchers. Therefore, it would have been better for the researchers to embrace a broader scale of recoding the findings.

The authors of this article also did a commendable work by engaging the theoretical perspectives in the synthesis of the results and the development of conclusions. The researchers engaged the conceptions in literature with the data collected in trying to ascertain the process that goes into the determination of stigma and status. It enhanced the validity of the information that was generated from the research.

In my opinion, the paper increases my scope of comprehension of how different characters play out in the social context in determining the orientation of human beings. From the research, I have come to understand that the physical and mental characteristics of individuals result in the development of orientations. Therefore, it is easy to create inclusive social environments in collective social environments by building on the competencies based on the physical and mental characteristics of individuals.

Consider how the application of other social psychological perspectives might provide complementary information

As noted earlier, the researchers deployed two perspectives of social psychology; the sociocultural perspective and the learning theory perspective. The application of the motivational theory perspective in the research could have helped in exploring the character formation in individuals and how they motivate behavior. These, in turn, determine the social orientation of a person. One of the critical things in the motivational theory perspective is that it can be used in determining how individuals act. Action in itself is an important feature in social interaction. The codes of behavior of individuals are evaluated based on their actions.

Therefore, the application of this perspective in the research could have helped in determining how the sets of behavior, as expounded by the social characteristics theory, are molded in individuals. However, this could have resulted in the loss of objectivity in the research by reducing the comparative aspects of the study, yet this was vital in the research.

The cognitive theory perspective expounds on how perceptions determine the actions and the position of people in social environments. The deployment of this perspective in this research was bound to add to the quality of information collected from the participants by way of determining how the participants perceived the status of others and how these perceptions affected the way they responded to others.

This perspective opines that behaviors within the social context are developed in a logical manner, which implies a process. Therefore, understanding behavior through the process is critical in determining the influence of behavior on the orientation of individuals. In this sense, the rating of human differences could have been more detailed, thereby expanding the conception of social inclusion and social rejection. However, the application of this could have shifted the researchers from focusing on the social aspects of behaviors relative to the physical and mental orientations.

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