In the latter, students wrote down the first three words that came to mind, for example for the prompt "k i _ _".
The study tracked the increase in the amount of aggressive words elicited after subliminally priming subjects with the word "gay" for 35 milliseconds.
Media coverage of gay-related hate crimes suggests that attackers often perceive some level of threat from homosexuals.
A faster association of "me" with "gay" and a slower association of "me" with "straight" indicated an implicit gay orientation.
A second experiment, in which subjects were free to browse same-sex or opposite-sex photos, provided an additional measure of implicit sexual attraction.
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"Individuals who identify as straight but in psychological tests show a strong attraction to the same sex may be threatened by gays and lesbians because homosexuals remind them of similar tendencies within themselves," explains Netta Weinstein, a lecturer at the University of Essex and the study's lead author.