The authors propose a theoretical model of individual psychological reactions to perceived stigma. This model suggests that 2 psychological systems may be involved in reactions to stigma across a variety of social contexts. One system is primarily reflexive, or associative, whereas the other is rule based, or reflective. This model assumes a temporal pattern of reactions to the stigmatized, such that initial reactions are governed by the reflexive system, whereas subsequent reactions or “adjustments ” are governed by the rule-based system. Support for this model was found in 2 studies. Both studies examined participants ’ moment-by-moment approach–avoidance reactions to the stigmatized. The 1st involved participants ’ reactions to persons with HIV/AIDS, and the 2nd, participants ’ reactions to 15 different stigmatizing conditions. By definition, of course, we believe that a person with a stigma is not quite human. (Goffman, 1963, p. 5) The painted bird circled from one end of the flock to the other, vainly trying to convince its kin that it was one of them. But, dazzled by its brilliant colors, they flew around it unconvinced. The painted bird would be forced farther and farther away as it zealously tried to ente
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