Event Title

Political Motivations behind Beliefs about Homosexuality

Presenter Information

Kevin Silberman

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Session Number

2

Location

RM 212

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Donna Garcia

Juror Names

Moderator: Dr. Jacqueline Leventon

Start Date

5-19-2016 3:20 PM

End Date

5-19-2016 3:40 PM

Abstract

Many studies have examined relationships between people’s support of same-sex marriage and beliefs about what causes someone to be gay. However, little research has examined the factors that shape these beliefs. Gay rights supporters (LGB allies) tend to believe in “born that way” (BTW) explanations for homosexuality, whereas non-supporters of gay rights (non-allies) tend to believe in “controllable” explanations (e.g., poor parenting, childhood sexual abuse). Within the literature, the motivation to be accurate and the motivation to reach a particular conclusion have been described as two distinct types of motivated reasoning. Because there is no conclusive empirical support on what determines sexual orientation, LGB allies and nonallies are not likely to agree with certain arguments for the purpose of being accurate, but instead may agree with them because of a perception that they will lead to a desired conclusion (i.e., increased or decreased LGB acceptance). We examined the possibility that beliefs about homosexuality are motivated by the perception that certain explanations would be effective in promoting LGB rights and acceptance. Participants rated 14 explanations on how much they agree with each and on how much each would promote LGB rights and acceptance. LGB allies were more likely than non-allies to agree with a BTW argument, whereas non-allies were more likely than allies to agree with controllable arguments. Furthermore, the relationship between ally status and agreement with an explanation was mediated by the perception that the supported explanation is effective at promoting LGB rights and acceptance.

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May 19th, 3:20 PM May 19th, 3:40 PM

Political Motivations behind Beliefs about Homosexuality

RM 212

Many studies have examined relationships between people’s support of same-sex marriage and beliefs about what causes someone to be gay. However, little research has examined the factors that shape these beliefs. Gay rights supporters (LGB allies) tend to believe in “born that way” (BTW) explanations for homosexuality, whereas non-supporters of gay rights (non-allies) tend to believe in “controllable” explanations (e.g., poor parenting, childhood sexual abuse). Within the literature, the motivation to be accurate and the motivation to reach a particular conclusion have been described as two distinct types of motivated reasoning. Because there is no conclusive empirical support on what determines sexual orientation, LGB allies and nonallies are not likely to agree with certain arguments for the purpose of being accurate, but instead may agree with them because of a perception that they will lead to a desired conclusion (i.e., increased or decreased LGB acceptance). We examined the possibility that beliefs about homosexuality are motivated by the perception that certain explanations would be effective in promoting LGB rights and acceptance. Participants rated 14 explanations on how much they agree with each and on how much each would promote LGB rights and acceptance. LGB allies were more likely than non-allies to agree with a BTW argument, whereas non-allies were more likely than allies to agree with controllable arguments. Furthermore, the relationship between ally status and agreement with an explanation was mediated by the perception that the supported explanation is effective at promoting LGB rights and acceptance.