Thursday, 18 August 2016

Evidence homophobia can stem from repressed gay attractions - study 2012

There was the original study reported on in 1996 that came to the conclusion that homophobes were significantly sexually aroused by gay stimuli. It also concluded that more research needed to be done in the area.

So this has happened, with another further study into this published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, April 2012. A Richard M. Ryan, and William S. Ryan report on this study in the New York Times that same  month.

This study measured psychological reactions around gay or straight input. The results backed up the 1996 study, showing evidence that homophobia can indeed result from repressed same sex attraction in the individual. 

Of course this is not exactly news to the gay community, but it's very interesting that science is proving now what many have known all along.
Using this methodology we identified a subgroup of participants who, despite self-identifying as highly straight, indicated some level of same-sex attraction (that is, they associated “me” with gay-related words and pictures faster than they associated “me” with straight-related words and pictures). Over 20 percent of self-described highly straight individuals showed this discrepancy. 

Notably, these “discrepant” individuals were also significantly more likely than other participants to favor anti-gay policies; to be willing to assign significantly harsher punishments to perpetrators of petty crimes if they were presumed to be homosexual; and to express greater implicit hostility toward gay subjects (also measured with the help of subliminal priming). Thus our research suggests that some who oppose homosexuality do tacitly harbor same-sex attraction. 

What leads to this repression? We found that participants who reported having supportive and accepting parents were more in touch with their implicit sexual orientation and less susceptible to homophobia. Individuals whose sexual identity was at odds with their implicit sexual attraction were much more frequently raised by parents perceived to be controlling, less accepting and more prejudiced against homosexuals. New York Times