The Golden Section and Attitudes Towards Mental Illness: How does Stigma Influence Golden Section Ratings?
Harasym, Melanie T.
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SubjectMental illness -- Public opinion; Mental illness -- Social aspects; Discrimination against the mentally ill; Stigma (Social psychology) -- Research; Golden section
Studies have shown that when people are asked to make judgments about others using a list of bipolar adjective pairs, they consistently produce ratings that are approximately 62% positive and 38% negative. The precise proportion of 61.8:38.2, known as the golden section, stems from Pythagorean principles that explain how people organize and make sense of the world around them. The current study examined how a stigmatized view of the mentally ill can affect golden section ratings of various diagnostic labels. One hundred and eighteen participants were tested on: (1) their view of the mentally ill (level of stigma), (2) how much contact they have had with the mentally ill, and (3) their golden section ratings of various medical and psychiatric labels. Results indicated that participants with a less stigmatizing view of the mentally ill did not exhibit a golden section pattern in rating all diagnostic labels, despite what was hypothesized. Participants with a stigmatizing view of the mentally ill did not exhibit a reverse golden section pattern in rating psychiatric labels as expected either. The results of the current study did show, however, that people who have more contact with the mentally ill also have a less stigmatizing view of the mentally ill.