Research Paper

Topics: Sexual orientation, Homosexuality, Bisexuality Pages: 8 (2820 words) Published: December 21, 2012
The Effects of Sexual Orientation and Reactions to Public Displays of Affection

Richard Smith

University of Texas at San Antonio


A 2X3 (Sexual Orientation [gay, lesbian] X Video of public display of affection [holding hands, hugging, kissing) analysis of variance, between groups design will be conducted. This analysis will be conducted to view the reactions of individuals with ages ranging from 18 to 22. The subjects participating will be selected from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Their emotional reaction will be measured on a likert scale ranging from 1(strongly disagree) to 5(strongly agree) on how the subject’s reactions are after watching either a gay couple holding hands, kissing, or hugging. It is hypothesized that straight peoples responses (M = 4) will be significantly higher than gay peoples response of emotion (M=2.5). It is also hypothesized that there will be low emotional response to two men holding hands (M=1.5) as compared to two men kissing (M=4.2) each other with two men hugging between them (M=3). It is expected that there will be a significant interaction between sexual orientation and gay public display of affection F(2, 80) = 3.54, p = .001.

A gay couple in Chicago is considering filing a complaint for being kicked off the CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) for kissing on the bus. The couple kissed and then they were asked to exit the bus (We Were Kicked, 2011). Although the bus driver denies the reason for their removal, it’s possible their sexual orientation might have had something to do with it. Another countless incident occurred in Seattle, Washington. A gay couple was asked to leave a tourist attraction. After the couple held hands and kissed on the Ferris wheel, they were asked to leave. The owner of the Ferris wheel stated that his staff were unaware about their sexual orientation. He also stated that they were asked to leave due to their inappropriate behavior. Would you think the reason for their removal were strictly because of public display? Or do you believe it was because of their sexual orientation?

Belief Bias Theory
The current study is directly related to the belief Bias Theory. When making a decision about what’s right and wrong in society, many people accept their “norms”, which they were raised with. Belief bias is described as the tendency to agree with conclusions that fit prior beliefs (Harvey & Tang, 2012). For instance, if an individual was raised and taught that homosexuality is a sin, then he or she will have that “norm” embedded into his or her belief system that homosexuality is a sin. People will tend to accept any conclusions that fit in with their systems of belief, without any considerations of what they are actually agreeing with (Henle, 1962). In other words, people will take into consideration their beliefs about the particular conclusion when evaluating the logical validity of a given problem (Edward & Linden, 2011). A person who grew up in a household where that family believed public display of affection was wrong would have an issue accepting that into their belief system. Public Display of Affection

Public display of affection is the physical affection for another person in the view of others (Vaquera, 2005). People will have different views of the varying displays of affection. Whether it is a couple holding hands, kissing, or hugging each other in a public environment, each person will have a different perspective of whether it is right or wrong. A study has sown that people are more likely to describe a behavior as intentional when they see it as morally wrong (Inbar, Pizarro, & Knobe 2009). So when people view a gay couple kissing each other in public, they believe it to be intentionally done because morally, it is wrong for two guys to kiss each other. Majority of the participants who were college students stated that they did not have a problem with two men kissing (Inbar, Pizarro,...

References: Harvey, A. G., & Tang, N. K. Y. (2012). (Mis)perception of sleep in insomnia: A puzzle and a resolution. Psychological Bulletin, 138(1), 77-101. doi:
Henle, M
Luria, A.R. (1976). Cognitive development: Its cultural and social foundations. (M.Cole, Edl; M. Lopez-Morillas and L. solotaroff, Trans.) Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Vaquera, E
American Psychological Association. (2008). Answers to your questions: For a better understanding of sexual orientation and homosexuality. Washington, DC: Author. [Retrieved from]
Inbar, Y., Pizarro, D
undefined. (November 3, 2011). Gay Couple: We Were Kicked Off CTA Bus For Kissing. In CBS Chicago. Retrieved November 25, 2012, from
Wong, C. (August 8, 2012). Seattle 's 'Great Wheel ' Discriminated Against Gay Couple, Man Claims, Though Owners Cite Unruly Behavior. In Gay Voices. Retrieved December 1, 2012, from
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