, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 149–163 | Cite as

Taking visual disability into account: Explaining failure to experts and non-experts

  • Elke Klein-Allermann
  • Martin Kumpf


The present study was designed to investigate visually handicapped students' explanations for failure when the motive to maintain or enhance self-esteem was in conflict with the motive to present a favorable social image. Subjects experienced manipulated failure in a text comprehension task and were subsequently asked to give causal and responsibility attributions in the presence of either a visually handicapped or a non-handicapped experimenter. It was expected that visually disabled participants would claim a “handicap-bonus” from the non-handicapped experimenter by explicitly presenting non-defensive attributions and accounts as well as handicap-related responses, while defensive explanations should be more pronounced when faced with a blind experimenter. The data provide support for the existence of presumed social expectations as determinants of individuals' verbal self-presentations.

Key words

Attribution theory account-making social expectations self-presentation visually handicapped students 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elke Klein-Allermann
    • 1
  • Martin Kumpf
    • 2
  1. 1.Dept. of Psychology and EducationUniversity of MannheimMannheimGermany
  2. 2.University of MarburgGermany

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