Homosexuality and Pro-Gay Ideology as Pathogens? Implications of a Disease-Spread Lay Model for Understanding Anti-Gay Behaviors

Gabrielle Filip-Crawford, Steven Neuberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Negative behaviors targeting gay men and lesbians range from violent physical assault to casting a vote against gay marriage, with very different implications for those targeted. Existing accounts of such actions, however, are unable to differentially predict specific anti-gay behaviors, leaving a large theoretical hole in the literature and hindering the design of effective interventions. We propose (a) that many sexually prejudiced laypersons conceptualize homosexuality and pro-gay ideology as “contaminants” analogous to infectious pathogens and (b) that anti-gay behaviors can thus be viewed as strategic attempts to prevent, contain, treat, or eradicate the “pathogens” of homosexuality and pro-gay ideology. By considering analogues to disease-spread processes (e.g., susceptibility of specific subpopulations, inoculation procedures, prevalence in the local environment, interconnections among community members), we derive novel predictions regarding the incidence and nature of anti-gay behaviors and provide leverage for creating more tailored interventions to reduce such discrimination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-364
Number of pages33
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Review
Volume20
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Keywords

  • discrimination
  • lay theories
  • prejudice/stereotyping
  • sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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