Elizabeth Quinn is a senior at Northwestern University getting her undergraduate degree in Psychology! She presented her research (The Role of Implicit Disgust in Hate Crimes Against Gay Men) at the 2018 Midwestern Psychological Association Conference in Chicago, IL and the 2018 Society for Personality and Social Psychology's annual conference in Atlanta, GA! Congratulations Elizabeth, keep up the great work!!
The Role of Implicit Disgust in Hate Crimes against Gay Men
In hate crimes committed against gay men, victims are often blamed for provoking the violence. This argument is the cornerstone of the infamous “gay panic defense,” which legally legitimizes this behavior in 48 American states. Until now, the role of implicit disgust has yet to be explored in blame decision-making. In the current preregistered study, we examined the association between implicit disgust and blame decision-making in hate crimes against gay men. Participants (N = 252) completed a version of the Implicit Association Test adapted to assess implicit disgust and then read a case scenario detailing a homicide that ensued from an altercation between two adult men. Next, participants completed scales of blame attributed to the victim and indicated the extent to which they believed the case should be ruled as a hate crime. Results indicated that increased implicit gay-disgust associations were associated with increased blame attributed to the victim. Although implicit disgust was unrelated to defendant blame, individual levels of implicit disgust were associated with perceptions that the hate crime statute should be applied. As implicit disgust associations with gay men increased, perceptions that the homicide constituted as a hate crime decreased. The current findings suggest that implicit disgust may contribute to victim blaming in hate crimes against gay men; however, experimental evidence is needed to determine whether implicit disgust causally influences victim blaming and perceptions of hate crimes.
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The American Psychology-Law Society (Division 41 of the American Psychology Association) Student Committee is composed of elected student leaders representing the interests of our student members.