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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2006 Aug;91(2):268-80.

From automatic antigay prejudice to behavior: the moderating role of conscious beliefs about gender and behavioral control.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.


Two experiments tested whether the relation between automatic prejudice and discriminatory behavior is moderated by 2 conscious processes: conscious egalitarian beliefs and behavioral control. The authors predicted that, when both conscious processes are deactivated, automatic prejudice would elicit discriminatory behavior. When either of the 2 processes is activated, behavioral bias would be eliminated. The authors assessed participants' automatic attitudes toward gay men, conscious beliefs about gender, behavioral control, and interactions with gay confederates. In Experiment 1, men's beliefs about gender were heterogeneous, whereas women's beliefs were mostly egalitarian; men's responses supported the predictions, but women's responses did not. In Experiment 2, the authors recruited a sample with greater diversity in gender-related beliefs. Results showed that, for both sexes, automatic prejudice produced biased behavior in the absence of conscious egalitarian beliefs and behavioral control. The presence of either conscious process eliminated behavioral bias.

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