Moral Elevation Reduces Prejudice Against Gay Men

Calvin K. Lai

Harvard University

Jonathan Haidt

New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business

Brian A. Nosek

University of Virginia

October 21, 2013

Disgust is linked to social evaluation. People with higher disgust sensitivity exhibit more sexual prejudice (Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe, & Bloom, 2009), and inducing disgust increases sexual prejudice (Dasgupta, DeSteno, Williams, & Hunsinger, 2009). We tested whether inducing moral elevation, the theoretical opposite of disgust, would reduce sexual prejudice. In four studies (N = 3,622), we induced elevation with inspiring videos and then measured sexual prejudice with implicit and explicit measures. Compared to control videos that elicited no particular affective state, we found that elevation reduced implicit and explicit sexual prejudice, albeit very slightly. No effect was observed when the target of social evaluation was changed to race (Black-White). Inducing amusement, another positive emotion, did not significantly affect sexual prejudice. We conclude that elevation weakly but reliably reduces prejudice toward gay men.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: attitudes, prejudice, sexual orientation, elevation, Implicit Association Test, social cognition

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Date posted: June 21, 2013 ; Last revised: December 19, 2013

Suggested Citation

Lai, Calvin K. and Haidt, Jonathan and Nosek, Brian A., Moral Elevation Reduces Prejudice Against Gay Men (October 21, 2013). Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2276195 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2276195

Contact Information

Calvin K. Lai (Contact Author)
Harvard University ( email )
124 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
Jonathan Haidt
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business ( email )
NYU-Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY NY 10012
United States

Brian A. Nosek
University of Virginia ( email )
1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States
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