Behavior: Hostility to the Handicapped

About 300 million people in the world have highly visible deformities, which cause emotional problems not just for the victims but for the society around them. Primitive cultures often "solve" the problem by putting the cripples to death. Civilized cultures, it now appears, might do the same if they dared.

In a three year study of attitudes toward the maimed, two German psychologists, Gerd Jansen and Otto Esser, questioned 1,600 adults and 1,000 school-age children. To avoid hypocrisy, they even checked some of their cases with lie detectors.

Many of their subjects spoke sympathetically of the handicapped, but they often reacted to...

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