Self-representation, Disability, Body Image, Instagram, Neuroscience, Eye Tracking.


The physical appearance of many people with disabilities leads them to feel stigmatised for not conforming to socially imposed ideals of beauty. These aesthetic standards convey lifestyles on Instagram that attract the attention of young audiences. In this regard, previous research has pointed out that people with disabilities also post self-representative images that are leading to new stereotypes of beauty with a potential impact on users without impairments. The aim of this research was to measure the attention and emotional intensity generated by a selection of posts on Instagram made by people with disabilities, in which they display their body image for aesthetic purposes, both in terms of beauty and fashion. Two neurocommunication techniques, eye tracking and galvanic skin response, were used on a sample of 120 Spanish and Portuguese university students who are regular Instagram users. The results indicate that young people without disabilities focus their attention on aspects of the image that clearly show a person’s disability, especially regarding specific features, yet there were no appreciable changes in emotional intensity. The findings also highlight the need to integrate heightened awareness and sensitivity regarding the image of people with disabilities by using a cross-curricular approach in the educational system in order to promote full inclusion.


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This research has been funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, as well as by the Spanish State Research Agency (project no. PID2019-105398RB-C21, ‘Disability and Digital Competences on Audio-visual Industry-COMPENSA’). It is also part of the activities of the research group 970964 UCM Brand Lab of the Complutense University of Madrid.


Technical information

Received: 2023-05-26 | Reviewed: 2023-06-26 | Accepted: 2023-09-01 | Online First: 2023-12-07 | Published: 2024-03-31


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Luis Mañas-Viniegra., Carmen Llorente-Barroso., Ivone Ferreira., Mónica Viñarás-Abad. (2024). The Self-representation of People with Disabilities on Instagram. Comunicar, 32(78). 10.58262/V32I78.15



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