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.—
New study indicates homophobia is often a result of repressed homosexual feelings, validating what Freud posited in his concept of “reaction formation,” in which we lash out against others’ expressions of what we loathe in ourselves.
The above is via explore-blog, and it’s a long and fancy way of saying that (at least according to this study) homophobia is often associated with repressed homosexual feelings. This work will be appearing in the next issue of Journal of Stuff Everyone Knows But Couldn’t Quite Prove Until Now.
Fascinating. And yes, exactly what I suspected on two counts: more people are gay than self-identify as such, and our prevailing social homophobia attempts to perpetuate itself.
…and because it’s something I’ve long suspected, I require more proof before I’ll base any decisions on it. Let’s see where this research goes over the next decade or two.
From the PBS page “Helping Children With Scary News”.
Advice from Lou Adler, from Bill Gates and is HR/Recruiting Stuck in a Time Warp? (via Brad)
This is an intriguing idea; rather than guessing at the experiences an applicant would need to do the job, you list the functional goals of the job itself. Each goal can be turned into a question (“Would you be able to do this part of the job in the time required?”), and the answer to that question is what you evaluate when hiring.
This actually sounds like evaluating a contractor. Experience and skills come up, of course, but not as a list of buzzwords and numbers to match. They’re the answer to the question, “Can you do this thing we need?”
A potential side effect – beneficial, in my opinion – is that a performance review can take the same form as the interview, with the same list of questions. “Did you do this thing we needed?”