Not “just words”: Exposure to homophobic epithets leads to dehumanizing and physical distancing from gay men

Fasoli, Fabio, Paladino, Maria Paola, Carnaghi, Andrea, Jetten, Jolanda, Bastian, Brock, & Bain, Paul G. (2016) Not “just words”: Exposure to homophobic epithets leads to dehumanizing and physical distancing from gay men. European Journal of Social Psychology, 46(2), pp. 237-248.

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Abstract

We examined whether homophobic epithets (e.g., faggot) function as labels of deviance for homosexuals that contribute to their dehumanization and physical distance. Across two studies, participants were supraliminally (Study 1) and subliminally (Study 2) exposed to a homophobic epithet, a category label, or a generic insult. Participants were then asked to associate human related and animal-related words to homosexuals and heterosexuals. Results showed that after exposure to a homophobic epithet, compared with a category label or a generic insult, participants associated less human-related words with homosexuals, indicating dehumanization. In Study 2, we also assessed the effect of a homophobic epithet on physical distance from a target group member and found that homophobic epithets led to greater physical distancing of a gay man. These findings indicate that homophobic epithets foster dehumanization and avoidance of gay people, in ways that other insults or labels do not.

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ID Code: 90602
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: derogatory labels, deviance, dehumanization, homophobia, physical distance
DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.2148
ISSN: 1099-0992
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Social and Community Psychology (170113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Psychology & Counselling
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Deposited On: 24 Nov 2015 00:36
Last Modified: 26 May 2016 01:05

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