Honors Senior Theses/Projects

Date of Award


Faculty Advisor

Chehalis Strapp


The present study sought to determine whether exposure to various labels about hearing loss has an influence on implicit attitudes about deafness. It was hypothesized that the term “hearing impaired” would elicit a more negative attitude than the terms “deaf”, “hard-of-hearing”, or no label. Thirty Western Oregon University students participated (males=11, females=19; mean age=20.67 years, SD = 2.19). Eleven participants indicated that they had a relationship with someone who is D/deaf or hard-of-hearing, and four students had taken one or more American Sign Language (ASL) courses in the past. Participants read a vignette created by the researcher containing one of the previously mentioned labels associated with deafness, and then completed an Implicit Associations Test to measure implicit bias with regard to deafness (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998). The results failed to reveal a significant difference between implicit bias of any of the groups, one-way between subjects ANOVA F (3, 26) = .018, p = .997, η² = .002, implying that exposure to deaf-related labels in a vignette likely does not influence implicit attitudes about deafness.