Is Homophobia Associated with an Implicit Same-Sex Attraction?

Published: September 18, 2012

Abstract

Some theorists propose that homophobia stems from underlying same-sex attraction. A few studies have tested this hypothesis, yet without a clear measure of implicit sexual attraction, producing mixed results. For the first time, we test this attraction-based account of homophobia among both men and women using an implicit measure of sexual attraction. No evidence of an attraction-based account of homophobia emerged. Instead, implicit same-sex attraction was related to positive evaluations of gay men and lesbians among female participants. Even in targeted analyses examining the relation between implicit same-sex attraction and homosexual evaluations among only those theoretically most likely to demonstrate an attraction-based homophobic effect, implicit same-sex attraction was not associated with evaluations of homosexuals or was associated with more positive evaluations of homosexuals. In addition, explicit same-sex attraction was related to positive evaluations of gay men and lesbians for male participants. These results are more in keeping with the attitude-similarity effect (i.e., people like, rather than dislike, similar others).

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