Homophobes more likely to be drawn to gay images, study finds

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A new study has found that the most anti-gay male university students unconsciously favour gay images and activities.

38 male students from the University of Geneva, who described themselves as straight, took part in the study that was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.

Homophobes more likely to be drawn to gay images, study finds

At first, the participants were asked to fill out a survey to uncover their attitudes towards gay men.

The students were then asked to complete a manikin task, a computerised test that measured their unconscious impulsive tendencies towards images of two gay men.

The last task saw the men rating 20 different pictures of homosexual and heterosexual couples on a nine-point scale from “very pleasant” to “very unpleasant” while measuring how long they looked at each photo.

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It was found that men who held the strongest anti-gay attitudes, spent more time looking at the gay photos than the straight ones. Men who weren’t homophobic didn’t look at the homosexual photos any longer than the heterosexual ones.

Boris Cheval, the lead author of the study, told PsyPost it was hard to tell how much of a role suppression of same-sex attraction fed into the formation of anti-gay views.

He noted that in a previous study, half of the men who expressed anti-gay views became sexually aroused when shown gay adult videos. This was measured by whether they got an erection or not.

“Findings on the viewing time allow understanding why some (but not all) men high in homophobia have a sexual interest in same-sex individuals,” the research team said.

“This study provides a better understanding of the psychological processes involved in the processing of erotic gay material among men high in homophobia, and provides a fine-grained prediction of sexual-related behaviors.”