Natural order

Kevin Lewis

July 26, 2014

Discrimination Divides across Identity Dimensions: Perceived Racism Reduces Support for Gay Rights and Increases Anti-Gay Bias

Maureen Craig & Jennifer Richeson
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, forthcoming

Recent research has found that perceiving racial discrimination toward one’s own group results in the expression of more positive attitudes toward members of other racial minority groups; however, perceiving sexism results in the expression of more negative attitudes toward other stigmatized groups, namely, racial minorities. One possibility for this seeming discrepancy is that perceived group disadvantage better enables identification with other disadvantaged groups within a dimension of identity (i.e., among racial minorities) than across dimensions of identity (i.e., between White women and racial minorities). The present research investigates this possibility or, rather, whether racial discrimination is such a potent experience for racial minorities that making it salient will increase identification with and, thus, facilitate more positive attitudes toward members of other stigmatized groups, even those that cross an identity dimension (e.g., sexual minorities). Analyses of two nationally representative datasets (Studies 1a & 1b) reveal that perceived racial discrimination against the ingroup is associated with more negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians. Similarly, a laboratory experiment with Black and Latino participants (Study 2) reveals that making racial discrimination against the ingroup salient leads to more negative attitudes toward gay men and lesbians as well as less support for policies that would benefit sexual minorities. Overall, the present research suggests that although perceived discrimination may result in more positive attitudes within an identity dimension, it is associated with more negative intra-minority intergroup relations across dimensions of identity.


When Boys Wear Pink: A Gendered Color Cue Violation Evokes Risk Taking

Avi Ben-Zeev & Tara Dennehy
Psychology of Men & Masculinity, forthcoming

A primary way to signal gender differences starting in infancy is via a clothing color cue (pink is for girls, not boys). We examined whether a violation of this seemingly innocuous gendered prescription would lead to differential decision making regarding infants’ health and well being. In Experiment 1, participants were given an adaptation of the Asian Disease Problem (Tversky & Kahneman, 1981) describing a flu outbreak expected to affect male infants, who were dressed in pink or blue. Participants tended to choose the risk-averse treatment for boys in blue, consistent with Tversky and Kahneman’s theorizing and findings. In contrast, participants tended to opt for the risk-taking treatment for boys in pink, consistent with research highlighting people’s tendency to place lower subjective value on the lives of individuals who belong to socially devalued groups. Experiment 2 ruled out a possible expectancy effect with a different natural category. We discuss the reification of clothing color for demarcating masculinity as a societal attempt at policing gender and situate the findings in a cognitive consistency framework.


The Wage Gap against Gay Men: The Leveling of the Playing Field

Bruce Elmslie & Edinaldo Tebaldi
Kyklos, August 2014, Pages 330–345

This study uses data from the March Supplement Current Population Survey (CPS) to examine the wage differential against gay men from 1995 to 2011 in the United States. A wage equation is estimated using the Heckman two-stage method, which addresses the sample selection bias inherent in wage equation estimations. We find evidence that in the United States the wage gap against gay men has significantly decreased over the last two decades. We also find that evidence that the wage gap has become concentrated in three occupations: managerial, sales, and protective services. We conclude that the evidence is most consistent with the hypothesis that discrimination is decreasing, and possibly non-existent and that any lingering discrimination is based on the taste for discrimination by employees against being managed by a gay man and by customers.


Health Insurance and Labor Force Participation: What Legal Recognition Does for Same-Sex Couples

Marcus Dillender
Contemporary Economic Policy, forthcoming

Using Current Population Survey data, I examine how same-sex couples' labor force participation and health insurance coverage change as a result of their unions being legally recognized. The results indicate female same-sex couples switch from arrangements where both members work to arrangements where only one member of the couple works. Being able to gain health insurance through a spouse's employer seems to play a major role in this change. Male same-sex couples experience no change in their labor force participation or health insurance.


How Statewide LGB Policies Go From “Under Our Skin” to “Into Our Hearts”: Fatherhood Aspirations and Psychological Well-Being Among Emerging Adult Sexual Minority Men

José Bauermeister
Journal of Youth and Adolescence, August 2014, Pages 1295-1305

Researchers have noted increasingly the public health importance of addressing discriminatory policies towards lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) populations. At present, however, we know little about the mechanisms through which policies affect LGB populations’ psychological well-being; in other words, how do policies get under our skin? Using data from a study of sexual minority young men (N = 1,487; M = 20.80 (SD = 1.93); 65 % White; 92 % gay), we examined whether statewide bans (e.g., same-sex marriage, adoption) moderated the relationship between fatherhood aspirations and psychological well-being. Fatherhood aspirations were associated with lower depressive symptoms and higher self-esteem scores among participants living in states without discriminatory policies. In states with marriage equality bans, fatherhood aspirations were associated with higher depressive symptoms and lower self-esteem scores, respectively. Fatherhood aspirations were associated negatively with self-esteem in states banning same-sex and second parent adoptions, respectively. Our findings underscore the importance of recognizing how anti-equality LGB policies may influence the psychosocial development of sexual minority men.


Does Policy Adoption Change Opinions on Minority Rights? The Effects of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage

Rebecca Kreitzer, Allison Hamilton & Caroline Tolbert
Political Research Quarterly, forthcoming

The Iowa Supreme Court adopted an unpopular but unanimous ruling in Varnum v. Brien, which established same-sex marriage. Using a unique panel study conducted immediately before and after the court decision, we evaluate the impact of policy adoption on changing opinions on minority rights. The signaling of new social norms pressured some respondents to modify their expressed attitudes. We find that respondents whose demographic characteristics would predict support for marriage equality, but previously did not, were more likely to shift their opinions to be consistent with the new state law. A policy feedback mechanism may be responsible for the rapid diffusion of laws legalizing same-sex in the states.


Proposer Gender, Pleasure, and Danger in Casual Sex Offers among Bisexual Women and Men

Terri Conley et al.
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, November 2014, Pages 80–88

Previous research suggested that the gender of the casual sex proposer is an important predictor of casual sex acceptance, particularly because male proposers are perceived to have lesser sexual capabilities than female proposers (Conley, 2011). We examined this hypothesis more directly by taking advantage of unique characteristics associated with bisexual individuals. Bisexual people have the capacity to be attracted to both women and men; thus, the present studies tease apart the effects of participant gender and proposer gender – something that is not possible in studies of casual sex among heterosexual individuals. Gender of proposer was a significant predictor in each study, prior to controlling for sexual capabilities, as Conley (2011) predicted. No gender differences emerged in acceptance of actual casual sex offers from women — gender differences only emerged in response to actual offers from men. Sexual capabilities mediated the relationship between gender and acceptance of the casual sex offer. Although previous research has shown that women do not like casual sex as much as men do (Buss & Schmitt, 1993), the present research does not provide support for that finding.


Give the Kid a Break — But Only if He’s Straight: Retributive Motives Drive Biases Against Gay Youth in Ambiguous Punishment Contexts

Jessica Salerno, Mary Murphy & Bette Bottoms
Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, forthcoming

Two studies addressed how people punish juvenile sex offenders in ambiguous punishment contexts. Sex offender registry laws now make voluntary sexual activity between juveniles a registration-worthy offense in the U.S. Using contemporary prejudice theories as a theoretical framework, we tested whether the ambiguity surrounding the application of these laws to juveniles provides a context for expression of prejudice against gay youth. In the ambiguous context of 2 juveniles having consensual sex, people supported sex offender registration more for gay, versus heterosexual, offenders. This punishment discrimination did not emerge, however, in the societally less ambiguous context of an adult having sex with a juvenile. Study 2 revealed that punishment discrimination again emerged against gay male juveniles but not lesbian juveniles. Across both studies, punishment discrimination against gay juveniles was consistently mediated by retributive motives (moral outrage), but less consistently by utilitarian motives (concern about protecting society) — the stated legislative purpose of registration.


Haven’t I seen you before? Straight men who are insecure of their masculinity remember gender-atypical faces

David Lick, Kerri Johnson & Rachel Riskind
Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, forthcoming

To navigate a busy interpersonal landscape, people direct perceptual resources in a motivated fashion that maximizes goals and minimizes threats. While adaptive, these heuristics can also lead to noteworthy biases, including a well-documented memory advantage for ingroup members. Recent research has extended these findings to reveal other motivational biases that emerge early in social perception. When perceivers feel threatened, for example, they are vigilant to outgroup members. Although compelling, evidence for this vigilance-threat hypothesis is currently limited to feelings of physical threat and memory for racial outgroups. Here, we extended these findings to a different form of threat — gender identity threat. Four studies documented that straight men who feel insecure about their masculinity have heightened recognition of gender-atypical faces. We therefore argue that gender identity concerns play an important role in social vision, arousing perceptual biases that have implications for how men attend to and remember others in their social environments.


“Hot” Girls and “Cool Dudes”: Examining the Prevalence of the Heterosexual Script in American Children’s Television Media

Alexandra Kirsch & Sarah Murnen
Psychology of Popular Media Culture, forthcoming

As children’s consumption of media increases, examining the messages prevalent in popular TV programs is central to understanding how children learn to view and understand gender. A coding scheme of themes of the “heterosexual script” related to gender, sexuality, and relationships developed by Kim et al. (2007) was applied to 7 popular American children’s TV programs. The prevalence of the script varied across program, with certain programs depicting gender stereotypes as frequently as adult prime-time TV programs. Across programs, the most common theme was boys objectifying and valuing girls solely for their appearance and girls engaging in self-objectification and ego-stroking of boys. Programs with leads who are boys were more likely to enact these stereotypes, especially in the presence of other-gender peers, indicating that this script is linked to expectations within heterosexual relationships.


Latent variable analysis indicates that seasonal anisotropy accounts for the higher prevalence of left-handedness in men

Ulrich Tran, Stefan Stieger & Martin Voracek
Cortex, August 2014, Pages 188–197

According to the Geschwind-Galaburda theory of cerebral lateralization, high intrauterine testosterone levels delay left brain hemisphere maturation and thus promote left-handedness. Human circulating testosterone levels are higher in the male fetus and also vary with length of photoperiod. Therefore, a higher prevalence of left-handedness, coupled with seasonal anisotropy (i.e., a non-uniform distribution of handedness across birth months or seasons), may be expected among men. Prior studies yielded inconsistent evidence for seasonal anisotropy and suffered from confounding and a number of shortcomings affecting statistical power. This study examined hand preference and associations of handedness with sex, age, and season of birth in independent discovery (n = 7658) and replication (n = 5062) samples from Central Europe with latent class analysis (LCA). We found clear evidence of a surplus of left-handed men born during the period November–January, which is consistent with predictions from the Geschwind-Galaburda theory. Moreover, seasonal anisotropy fully accounted for the higher prevalence of left-handedness among men, relative to women. Implications of these findings with regard to seasonal anisotropy research and handedness assessment and classification are discussed.


Parent-of-origin-specific allelic associations among 106 genomic loci for age at menarche

John Perry et al.
Nature, forthcoming

Age at menarche is a marker of timing of puberty in females. It varies widely between individuals, is a heritable trait and is associated with risks for obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer and all-cause mortality1. Studies of rare human disorders of puberty and animal models point to a complex hypothalamic-pituitary-hormonal regulation2, 3, but the mechanisms that determine pubertal timing and underlie its links to disease risk remain unclear. Here, using genome-wide and custom-genotyping arrays in up to 182,416 women of European descent from 57 studies, we found robust evidence (P < 5 × 10−8) for 123 signals at 106 genomic loci associated with age at menarche. Many loci were associated with other pubertal traits in both sexes, and there was substantial overlap with genes implicated in body mass index and various diseases, including rare disorders of puberty. Menarche signals were enriched in imprinted regions, with three loci (DLK1-WDR25, MKRN3-MAGEL2 and KCNK9) demonstrating parent-of-origin-specific associations concordant with known parental expression patterns. Pathway analyses implicated nuclear hormone receptors, particularly retinoic acid and γ-aminobutyric acid-B2 receptor signalling, among novel mechanisms that regulate pubertal timing in humans. Our findings suggest a genetic architecture involving at least hundreds of common variants in the coordinated timing of the pubertal transition.


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