This study was supported by a predoctoral fellowship from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (F31 HD 043899 03) awarded to the first author and was conducted in partial fulfillment of the first author's Ph.D. requirements. The authors thank Charles M. Judd and Eleanor Hubbard for their invaluable suggestions on an earlier draft of the manuscript. The authors also thank Keira O'Dell and Sean Myers for their assistance in data collection and measurement. Amanda L. Mahaffey is now at the Centre for Psychological Research and Social Intervention (CIS), ISCTE–Lisbon University Institute.
In Search of the Defensive Function of Sexual Prejudice: Exploring Antigay Bias Through Shorter and Longer Lead Startle Eye Blink
Article first published online: 17 JAN 2011
© 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 41, Issue 1, pages 27–44, January 2011
How to Cite
Mahaffey, A. L., Bryan, A. D., Ito, T. A. and Hutchison, K. E. (2011), In Search of the Defensive Function of Sexual Prejudice: Exploring Antigay Bias Through Shorter and Longer Lead Startle Eye Blink. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 41: 27–44. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00700.x
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2011
- Article first published online: 17 JAN 2011
To explore the theory that some men experience antigay bias because of a defensive reaction to uncertainties surrounding their own sexuality (cf. Herek, 1987), we conducted a study (n = 132 men) in which we physiologically measured the affective underpinnings of antigay bias while individuals with different levels of self-reported bias viewed sexually explicit material. Those higher in antigay bias exhibited less positive affect than did others, but did not appear to experience a defensive reaction. Given these results, combined with those of our previous studies, we conclude that evidence for the existence of a group of men who exhibit antigay bias because of a hidden or unconscious attraction toward men is difficult to demonstrate using current methodology.