Saturday, April 28, 2012

NYT on That Study of Homophobes With Gay Feelings

We talked recently about some current research indicating that those who are strongly anti-gay often have homosexual feelings themselves.  The New York Times Sunday Review this week has an article by one of the researchers who conducted this study.

An interesting new psychological measurement technique was used in this study, and the author explains it fairly well.  BTW, the paper was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which is the most prestigious journal in social psychology.  I will skip the introduction -- Larry Craig, Ted Haggard, Young Republicans, etc. -- and get to the theoretical part.
One theory is that homosexual urges, when repressed out of shame or fear, can be expressed as homophobia. Freud famously called this process a “reaction formation” — the angry battle against the outward symbol of feelings that are inwardly being stifled. Even Mr. Haggard seemed to endorse this idea when, apologizing after his scandal for his anti-gay rhetoric, he said, “I think I was partially so vehement because of my own war.”

It’s a compelling theory — and now there is scientific reason to believe it. In this month’s issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, we and our fellow researchers provide empirical evidence that homophobia can result, at least in part, from the suppression of same-sex desire.

Our paper describes six studies conducted in the United States and Germany involving 784 university students. Participants rated their sexual orientation on a 10-point scale, ranging from gay to straight. Then they took a computer-administered test designed to measure their implicit sexual orientation. In the test, the participants were shown images and words indicative of hetero- and homosexuality (pictures of same-sex and straight couples, words like “homosexual” and “gay”) and were asked to sort them into the appropriate category, gay or straight, as quickly as possible. The computer measured their reaction times.

The twist was that before each word and image appeared, the word “me” or “other” was flashed on the screen for 35 milliseconds — long enough for participants to subliminally process the word but short enough that they could not consciously see it. The theory here, known as semantic association, is that when “me” precedes words or images that reflect your sexual orientation (for example, heterosexual images for a straight person), you will sort these images into the correct category faster than when “me” precedes words or images that are incongruent with your sexual orientation (for example, homosexual images for a straight person). This technique, adapted from similar tests used to assess attitudes like subconscious racial bias, reliably distinguishes between self-identified straight individuals and those who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

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.  Homophobic? Maybe You’re Gay   
The implicit association test is unique in that it does not ask subjects to report how they feel about something, it measures their reaction time.  The idea is that familiar ideas are processed faster than unfamiliar ones, concepts that are grouped together that appear contradictory take longer to react to, and so forth.  People are often unaware of their real feelings or hesitant to report them, and the IAT is able to provide data about the strength of associations which can lead to understanding of the individual's cognitive state.

It seems like a sad self-reinforcing negative feedback loop.  A person experiences some homosexual feelings, realizes that his environment will punish him for it, and so rather than expressing his positive feelings he joins up with the side that seeks to punish him for having them.  I think that a lot of people actually think that everybody struggles with these feelings, and that's why you have to constantly fight against the mythical "gay agenda" and all that it supposedly stands for.  It is hard for them to understand that there are people who are inherently heterosexual who simply do not have homosexual feelings or don't worry about them if they do, and that there are homosexually-oriented people who do not feel shame.
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.

It’s important to stress the obvious: Not all those who campaign against gay men and lesbians secretly feel same-sex attractions. But at least some who oppose homosexuality are likely to be individuals struggling against parts of themselves, having themselves been victims of oppression and lack of acceptance. The costs are great, not only for the targets of anti-gay efforts but also often for the perpetrators. We would do well to remember that all involved deserve our compassion.
So our assignment is to feel compassion for hateful people and oppose them.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay sweetheart, I just have a question for you...

this is not on your subject at all, but I am so mad I can't see straight.

How would you feel if you worked hard your entire life, didn't flunk out of school, supported yourself, and was making it... but you worked 24x7 pretty much, between the job and you kids and your house. breaks are cleaning, that's what breaks are .. you learn to convince yourself that cleaning is cathertic and thus it's your break.

and you are trying like crazy to save money because you are trying like crazy to put your kids through college when the govt takes 45 cents on every dollar you make... therefore, any household project becomes.. "can I do this myself".. and you get on the internet and try anyway to figure it out, because almost always since you are really NOT rich and the govt keeps targeting you with EARNed income rates (hits 1% at 370K) as opposed to total income rates (hits 1% at 1.7 million) well, you are one the really STUPID SMUCKS that for WHATEVER reason can't figure out how to shelter your income, it's all W@ stupid, so therefore, you end up trying to figure out how to do EVERY Job youselft

April 29, 2012 3:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I were you I'd just be glad there's enough left at the end of the day for that bottle of Jack Daniels.

April 29, 2012 7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

little hard to follow that guy except that's is easy to tell he's part of the 99% who struggles to pay for routine things like putting his kids through college while Obama takes most of his money and wastes it:

While delivering his remarks at the 2012 White House Correspondents' Dinner, comedian Jimmy Kimmel addressed the issue of marijuana legalization.

"What is with the marijuana crackdown? Seriously, what is the concern? We will deplete the nation's Funyun supply?" Kimmel said. "Pot smokers vote too. Sometimes a week after the election, but they vote."

Kimmel then posed a challenge to the crowd, which was made up of celebrities like Kim Kardashian and George Clooney.

"I would like everyone in this room to raise your hand if you've never smoked pot," Kimmel said.

Few hands went up.

Noting the crowd's reaction, Kimmel addressed President Barack Obama directly.

"Marijuana is something that real people care about," Kimmel said.

Obama, who recently said he doesn't "mind a debate" about drug legalization, has increased the crackdown on medical marijuana producers across the nation, including a recent high-profile raid on a California training school. He addressed the crackdown and attempted to clarify his 2008 comments that he was "not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws [on medical marijuana]" in a recent interview with Rolling Stone:

Speaking with Rolling Stone, the president tried to explain his original comments, claiming that the recent pressure on dispensaries and providers was in line with his intent.
"What I specifically said was that we were not going to prioritize prosecutions of persons who are using medical marijuana," Obama said. "I never made a commitment that somehow we were going to give carte blanche to large-scale producers and operators of marijuana -- and the reason is, because it's against federal law."

The president continued: "I can't nullify congressional law. I can't ask the Justice Department to say, 'Ignore completely a federal law that's on the books.' What I can say is, 'Use your prosecutorial discretion and properly prioritize your resources to go after things that are really doing folks damage.' As a consequence, there haven't been prosecutions of users of marijuana for medical purposes."

Attorney General Eric Holder was a guest of The Huffington Post at the correspondents' dinner. Before it began, a HuffPost reporter noted to Holder that Obama's reference to "congressional law" was misleading because the executive branch could simply remove marijuana from its "schedule one" designation, thereby recognizing its medical use.

"That's right," Holder said.

April 29, 2012 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"the govt takes 45 cents on every dollar you make"

There is no 45% tax rate in the US.

Rates go from 10% to 35%.

Once the Bush tax cuts expire, the tax rates for 2013 are scheduled to change as follows: the 10% rate will be collapsed into the 15% rate; the 25% rate will become 28%; the 28% rate will become 31%; the 33% rate will become 36%; and the 35% rate will become 39.6%. These tax rate changes will take effect beginning in 2013 absent further legislation.

Then we can revert to the winning tax polices of the Clinton Administration when the Reagan/Bush deficits became the Clinton surpluses and millions of US jobs were created.

April 29, 2012 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rape Away The Gay? Radio Personality Tells Father To Get A Man To Rape His Daughter Until She Turns Straight

"A radio personality in Cleveland is facing tremendous backlash after telling a father that he should get one of his male friends to rape his daughter to force her to turn straight.

In response to an email from a father who suspected his daughter was gay after discovering her kissing another girl, DJ Dominic Deiter declared on the air that “You should get one of your friends to screw your daughter straight.”

You read that correctly. An apparently anti-gay radio personality told a father that he should arrange for his daughter to be raped repeatedly until she magically turns straight.

After the disgusting remark, GLAAD received multiple reports about the incident, which was said during ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ radio program that airs on WWMS 100.7 FM radio station on Clear Channel Communications, which includes radio shows hosted by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and several other right-wing radio shows. Clear Channel is also owned primarily by Bain Capital, the company that Mitt Romney began and is still involved with.

GLAAD’s Director of News & Field Media Aaron McQuade says “It was appalling and dangerous for this show to tell a father that he should have one of his friends rape his daughter. That’s essentially how Dieter responded to this listener, and this is no laughing matter in a world where people are too often the victims of violence and sexual assault based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation. And Dieter gave this vile advice to everyone who was listening, including educators, parents and children – sending the message that it’s okay to physically or sexually abuse people who are perceived to be gay.”

Clearly, this disc jockey needs to be fired immediately for his comment. Advocating for rape to change homosexuals into heterosexuals is egregiously wrong on so many levels. Rape is a violent act against women, and to say that a father should have his own daughter raped for any reason is flat out evil..."

No Dad, having me raped is not the way God wants you to demonstrate the love you have for your daughter.

April 29, 2012 10:07 AM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

LOL, no surprise that bad anonymous doesn't want to touch this topic with a 10 foot pole. No one who obesseses as much as he does every day about oppressing gays is heterosexual.

I used to be like you bad anonymous (okay, no where near to the same degree). You'll be much happier when you positively accept your sexual orienation - the APA says so.

May 03, 2012 1:52 PM  

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