Abstract Title

Does I-Sharing Mitigate the Effects of a Gender Threat on Heterosexual Men’s Antigay and Defensive Reactions?

Presentation Type

Poster

Abstract

Manhood is widely viewed as a precarious status that must be earned and can easily be lost. Thus, men often feel compelled to prove their manhood to others and they show defensive reactions when their manhood status is questioned. Existential psychology work indicates that sharing a subjective experience (I-sharing) with another person can meet important needs for connectedness and belief validation. The current study integrates these literatures to test whether an experience of I-sharing can mitigate the negative effects of a gender threat on heterosexual men’s defensive reactions (i.e., sexual prejudice and rejection of gender feedback). To test a 2 (feedback: threatening, non-threatening) x 2 (target: gay, straight) x 2 (sharing: I-share, no I-share) a between-subject factorial design was employed. Specifically, one group of men were told they were below average in masculinity and another group of men were told they were average on masculinity. Participants were also told that they were either paired with a gay or straight online partner and that they would share many or none of their subjective reactions to inkblots with him. Dependent measures included liking for the partner, willingness to publicize their gender feedback, and perceived validity of the gender test. The results demonstrated that participants who I-shared with their online partner liked him better than participants who did not I-share. Participants who were not threatened also rated the gender feedback as more valid when the online partner was gay than when he was straight. The results of the current study demonstrate a pathway for improving intergroup relationships between dissimilar people.

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Does I-Sharing Mitigate the Effects of a Gender Threat on Heterosexual Men’s Antigay and Defensive Reactions?

Manhood is widely viewed as a precarious status that must be earned and can easily be lost. Thus, men often feel compelled to prove their manhood to others and they show defensive reactions when their manhood status is questioned. Existential psychology work indicates that sharing a subjective experience (I-sharing) with another person can meet important needs for connectedness and belief validation. The current study integrates these literatures to test whether an experience of I-sharing can mitigate the negative effects of a gender threat on heterosexual men’s defensive reactions (i.e., sexual prejudice and rejection of gender feedback). To test a 2 (feedback: threatening, non-threatening) x 2 (target: gay, straight) x 2 (sharing: I-share, no I-share) a between-subject factorial design was employed. Specifically, one group of men were told they were below average in masculinity and another group of men were told they were average on masculinity. Participants were also told that they were either paired with a gay or straight online partner and that they would share many or none of their subjective reactions to inkblots with him. Dependent measures included liking for the partner, willingness to publicize their gender feedback, and perceived validity of the gender test. The results demonstrated that participants who I-shared with their online partner liked him better than participants who did not I-share. Participants who were not threatened also rated the gender feedback as more valid when the online partner was gay than when he was straight. The results of the current study demonstrate a pathway for improving intergroup relationships between dissimilar people.