Date Thesis Awarded

5-2015

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Science (BS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Cheryl L. Dickter

Committee Member

Catherine A. Forestell

Committee Member

Jennifer A. Stevens

Committee Member

Mark H. Forsyth

Abstract

Previous research has shown that the degree to which participants direct early attention to outgroup lesbian versus ingroup straight couples is related to their familiarity with homosexual individuals (Dickter, Forestell, & Mulder, 2015). The goal of the current study was to extend this work to examine whether a manipulation of perceived group entitativity would affect implicit responses to homosexual couples. Entitativity characterizes the degree to which a group of individuals are dependent on one another and pursue a common goal. Heterosexual participants were presented with a set of statements about homosexual groups that were either high or low in entitativity. They then completed behavioral tasks that measured affect and attention. Finally, participants completed questionnaires that assessed their attitudes toward and experiences with gays and lesbians. Results of the current study demonstrated that participants in the low entitativity condition rated a higher proportion of lesbian couples as positive compared to straight couples, signifying reduced implicit affective bias in this group. The manipulation had no effect on attentional bias to the couples. These findings suggest that entitativity may serve as a mechanism to explain the association between familiarity and implicit affective bias.

Keywords: implicit bias, affect, sexual orientation, entitativity, attentional capture, couples