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J Homosex. 2007;53(3):35-63.

Attitudes, subjective experiences, and behaviors in imagined and actual encounters between gay and heterosexual people.

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Department of Psychology, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas Cisty, MO 64110, USA.


Across four studies, we assessed the relationship between participants' attitudes toward gay men and their experiences during either imagined or actual interpersonal encounters with gay men. In the first three studies, participants imagined interactions with gay men and either responded in an open-ended or a closed-ended fashion. In these imagined interactions, participants reported that they expected to have considerable agreement between their attitudes and their subjective experiences during the intergroup encounter. However, during actual interactions, there were no differences between members of different prejudice levels in their responses to the gay confederate. A comparison of the actual and imagined interactions demonstrated that high prejudice people are particularly unlikely to have subjective experiences that match their negative attitudes concerning actual interpersonal encounters.

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