Findings

The Science and Politics of Sexual Orientation Ctd

Kevin Lewis

January 06, 2010

Dissecting "Gaydar": Accuracy and the Role of Masculinity-Femininity

Gerulf Rieger, Joan Linsenmeier, Lorenz Gygax, Steven Garcia & Michael Bailey
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
"Gaydar" is the ability to distinguish homosexual and heterosexual people using indirect cues. We investigated the accuracy of gaydar and the nature of "gaydar signals" conveying information about sexual orientation. Homosexual people tend to be more sex atypical than heterosexual people in some behaviors, feelings, and interests. We hypothesized that indicators of sex atypicality might function as gaydar signals. In Study 1, raters judged targets' sexual orientation from pictures, brief videos, and sound recordings. Sexual orientation was assessed with high, though imperfect, accuracy. In Study 2, different raters judged targets' sex atypicality from the same stimuli. Ratings of sexual orientation from Study 1 corresponded highly with targets' self-reports of sex atypicality and with observer ratings of sex atypicality from Study 2. Thus, brief samples of sex-atypical behavior may function as effective gaydar signals.

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Voting to Ban Same-Sex Marriage: Interests, Values, and Communities

Rory McVeigh & Maria-Elena Diaz
American Sociological Review, December 2009, Pages 891-915

Abstract:
From 2000 through 2008, initiatives proposing to ban same-sex marriage were on the ballot in 28 states. Although same-sex marriage opponents scored lopsided victories in most cases, voting outcomes varied substantially at the county level. This article examines sources of that variation and argues that opposition to same-sex marriage should be strong in communities characterized by the predominance of traditional gender roles and family structure. Perhaps more interestingly, the analysis also shows that the effects of traditional family structure and gender roles are especially strong in counties characterized by weak community cohesion, as indicated by residential instability, low rates of home ownership, and high crime rates.

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Concealment of Sexual Orientation

David Sylva, Gerulf Rieger, Joan Linsenmeier & Michael Bailey
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Sex-atypical behaviors may be used to identify a person as homosexual. To shield themselves from prejudice, homosexual people may attempt to conceal these behaviors. It is not clear how effectively they can do so. In Study 1, we asked homosexual participants to conceal their sex-atypical behaviors while talking about the weather. Raters watched videos of the participants and judged the likelihood that each participant was homosexual. Homosexual participants were able to partially conceal signs of their orientation, but they remained distinguishable from heterosexual participants. In Study 2, we tested the ability to conceal signs of one's sexual orientation in a more demanding situation: a mock job interview. In this scenario, homosexual men were even less effective at concealing their orientation. Higher cognitive demands in this new situation may have interfered with their ability to conceal.

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The Effect of Self-Affirmation on Sexual Prejudice

Justin Lehmiller, Alvin Law & Teceta Thomas Tormala
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Abstract:
In three experiments, we explored the impact of a self-affirmation treatment on sexual prejudice (i.e., negative attitudes toward gays and lesbians). Studies 1 and 2 found that participants who were affirmed by valuing relationships with family and friends were significantly more prejudiced than participants who were affirmed by valuing other self-relevant characteristics. Relative to a non-affirmed control, the family/friends affirmation did not actually increase prejudice; however, other affirmations decreased bias. Study 3 replicated the finding that prejudice was higher among participants who affirmed to family/friends compared to those who affirmed to other values, and showed a mediator of the effect: the endorsement of traditional family values. That is, affirming to family/friends was associated with support for family values, which was positively associated with prejudice. These findings add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating the potential for self-affirmation to reduce bias, but establish that the type of value affirmed is an important consideration. Specifically, familial-based affirmations may undermine reduction of sexual prejudice because they remind individuals of values that many people see as being in conflict with expressing tolerant attitudes toward gays and lesbians.

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Physical Development and Sexual Orientation in Men and Women: An Analysis of NATSAL-2000

Anthony Bogaert
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
In the present study, three physical development characteristics - weight, height, and age of menarche - were examined for their relation to sexual orientation. Participants were men and women comprising the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles-2000 (N > 11,000). Participants completed self-report measures of sexual orientation, height, weight, and, for women, age of menarche. Results indicated that gay/bisexual men were significantly shorter and lighter than heterosexual men. There were no significant differences between lesbians and heterosexual women in height, weight, and age of puberty. The results add to literature suggesting that, relative to heterosexual men, gay/bisexual men may have different patterns of growth and development because of early biological influences (e.g., exposure to atypical levels of androgens prenatally). However, the present results do not support a number of studies suggesting that lesbian/bisexual women are taller and heavier than heterosexual women.

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Southern (Dis)Comfort: Sexual Prejudice and Contact with Gay Men and Lesbians in the South

Dawn Baunach, Elisabeth Burgess & Courtney Muse
Sociological Spectrum, January 2010, Pages 30-64

Abstract:
Recent surveys have found antigay attitudes and behavior to be commonplace. In this article, we use contact theory to explain these prejudicial attitudes. We contribute to the literature on contact and prejudice by expanding contact to include not only whether the heterosexual knows any gay men or lesbians, but also how many, for how long, and in what ways. To these, we add a new and unique measure of contact: a person's contact with the gay community. The data are from a survey of 956 undergraduate students at a large urban university in the southeastern United States. Ordinary least squares (OLS) regression analyses find that contact with gay men and lesbians significantly reduces prejudice toward them; although, only as contact with gay friends or the gay community. Contact has stronger effects on women's prejudice than men's prejudice; however, the attitudes of African Americans toward lesbians and gay men are unaffected by gay contact. The results suggest that contact intervenes between prejudice and sex, race, religiosity, and gender attitudes.

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Does Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, or Neglect in Childhood Increase the Likelihood of Same-sex Sexual Relationships and Cohabitation? A Prospective 30-year Follow-up

Helen Wilson & Cathy Spatz Widom
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
Existing cross-sectional research suggests associations between physical and sexual abuse in childhood and same-sex sexual orientation in adulthood. This study prospectively examined whether abuse and/or neglect in childhood were associated with increased likelihood of same-sex partnerships in adulthood. The sample included physically abused (N = 85), sexually abused (N = 72), and neglected (N = 429) children (ages 0-11) with documented cases during 1967-1971 who were matched with non-maltreated children (N = 415) and followed into adulthood. At approximately age 40, participants (483 women and 461 men) were asked about romantic cohabitation and sexual partners, in the context of in-person interviews covering a range of topics. Group (abuse/neglect versus control) differences were assessed with cross-tabulations and logistic regression. A total of 8% of the overall sample reported any same-sex relationship (cohabitation or sexual partners). Childhood physical abuse and neglect were not significantly associated with same-sex cohabitation or sexual partners. Individuals with documented histories of childhood sexual abuse were significantly more likely than controls to report ever having had same-sex sexual partners (OR = 2.81, 95% CI = 1.16-6.80, p ≤ .05); however, only men with histories of childhood sexual abuse were significantly more likely than controls to report same-sex sexual partners (OR = 6.75, 95% CI = 1.53-29.86, p ≤ .01). These prospective findings provide tentative evidence of a link between childhood sexual abuse and same-sex sexual partnerships among men, although further research is needed to explore this relationship and to examine potential underlying mechanisms.

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Hormone-behavior associations in early infancy

Gerianne Alexander, Teresa Wilcox & Mary Elizabeth Farmer
Hormones and Behavior, November 2009, Pages 498-502

Abstract:
The physiological significance of hormonal changes in early postnatal life is emerging, but the behavioral significance in humans is unknown. As a first test of the relationship between hormones and behavior in early infancy we measured digit ratios and salivary hormone levels in forty-one male and female infants (3-4 months of age) who watched a video depicting stimuli differentially preferred by older males and females (toys, groups). An eye-tracker measured visual fixations and looking times. In female infants, hormones were unrelated to visual preferences. In male infants, higher androgen levels predicted stronger preferences for male-typical stimuli. These data provide the first evidence for a role for hormones in emerging sex-linked behavior in early development.

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Genetic and Environmental Effects on Same-sex Sexual Behavior: A Population Study of Twins in Sweden

Niklas Långström, Qazi Rahman, Eva Carlström & Paul Lichtenstein
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
There is still uncertainty about the relative importance of genes and environments on human sexual orientation. One reason is that previous studies employed self-selected, opportunistic, or small population-based samples. We used data from a truly population-based 2005-2006 survey of all adult twins (20-47 years) in Sweden to conduct the largest twin study of same-sex sexual behavior attempted so far. We performed biometric modeling with data on any and total number of lifetime same-sex sexual partners, respectively. The analyses were conducted separately by sex. Twin resemblance was moderate for the 3,826 studied monozygotic and dizygotic same-sex twin pairs. Biometric modeling revealed that, in men, genetic effects explained .34-.39 of the variance, the shared environment .00, and the individual-specific environment .61-.66 of the variance. Corresponding estimates among women were .18-.19 for genetic factors, .16-.17 for shared environmental, and 64-.66 for unique environmental factors. Although wide confidence intervals suggest cautious interpretation, the results are consistent with moderate, primarily genetic, familial effects, and moderate to large effects of the nonshared environment (social and biological) on same-sex sexual behavior.

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Wage Penalties and Sexual Orientation: An Update Using the General Social Survey

Brendan Cushing-Daniels and Tsz-Ying Yeung
Contemporary Economic Policy, April 2009, Pages 164-175

Abstract:
This study uses data from the 1988 to 2006 General Social Survey (GSS) to examine the effects of sexual orientation on earnings. Previous research using the GSS has found that lesbians earn 18%-23% more than similarly qualified heterosexual women and that wage penalties for gay men are slightly larger than the premia for lesbians. Using behavioral definitions of sexual orientation based on the previous year and the previous 5 yr of sexual activity, we find the familiar wage premia/penalties for lesbian/gay workers in our ordinary least squares estimations, but we find that these wage differences are falling over time. Furthermore, in contrast to the earlier results, for our regressions over the entire sample period, correcting for differential selection into full-time work reduces the estimated penalties for unmarried gay men and eliminates the entire wage premium for all lesbians. There is now a sizeable, though imprecisely measured, penalty for some lesbians.

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Biodemographic and Physical Correlates of Sexual Orientation in Men

Gene Schwartz, Rachael Kim, Alana Kolundzija, Gerulf Rieger & Alan Sanders
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
To better understand sexual orientation from an evolutionary perspective, we investigated whether, compared to heterosexual men, the fewer direct descendants of homosexual men could be counterbalanced by a larger number of other close biological relatives. We also investigated the extent to which three patterns generally studied separately--handedness, number of biological older brothers, and hair-whorl rotation pattern--correlated with each other, and for evidence of replication of previous findings on how each pattern related to sexual orientation. We surveyed at Gay Pride and general community festivals, analyzing data for 894 heterosexual men and 694 homosexual men, both groups predominantly (~80%) white/non-Hispanic. The Kinsey distribution of sexual orientation for men recruited from the general community festivals approximated previous population-based surveys. Compared to heterosexual men, homosexual men had both more relatives, especially paternal relatives, and more homosexual male relatives. We found that the familiality for male sexual orientation decreased with relatedness, i.e., when moving from first-degree to second-degree relatives. We also replicated the fraternal birth order effect. However, we found no significant correlations among handedness, hair whorl rotation pattern, and sexual orientation, and, contrary to some previous research, no evidence that male sexual orientation is transmitted predominantly through the maternal line.

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Patterns of cross-orientation friendships in high schools

Koji Ueno
Social Science Research, forthcoming

Abstract:
Previous studies indicate that school friendship networks of sexual minority students (students with non-heterosexual orientations) consist mostly of straight peers, but little is known about these straight friends. This paper examines what background characteristics predict straight students' chance of having sexual minority friends by analyzing friendship nomination data from two large high schools included in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Straight females are more likely than straight males to have cross-orientation friendships particularly with sexual minority males. Like friendships among straight students, cross-orientation friendships show a strong homophilous tendency-straight students choose sexual minority friends within their grade levels, racial groups, and academic aptitude levels. Beyond homophily, white race and high levels of academic aptitude and parent education increase straight students' chance of having sexual minority friends in some gender combinations, consistent with previous research showing the links between these backgrounds and positive attitudes toward sexual minorities.

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Common Genetic Effects of Gender Atypical Behavior in Childhood and Sexual Orientation in Adulthood: A Study of Finnish Twins

Katarina Alanko, Pekka Santtila, Nicole Harlaar, Katarina Witting, Markus Varjonen, Patrik Jern, Ada Johansson, Bettina von der Pahlen & Kenneth Sandnabba
Archives of Sexual Behavior, forthcoming

Abstract:
The existence of genetic effects on gender atypical behavior in childhood and sexual orientation in adulthood and the overlap between these effects were studied in a population-based sample of 3,261 Finnish twins aged 33-43 years. The participants completed items on recalled childhood behavior and on same-sex sexual interest and behavior, which were combined into a childhood gender atypical behavior and a sexual orientation variable, respectively. The phenotypic association between the two variables was stronger for men than for women. Quantitative genetic analyses showed that variation in both childhood gender atypical behavior and adult sexual orientation was partly due to genetics, with the rest being explained by nonshared environmental effects. Bivariate analyses suggested that substantial common genetic and modest common nonshared environmental correlations underlie the co-occurrence of the two variables. The results were discussed in light of previous research and possible implications for theories of gender role development and sexual orientation.


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