Right-wing authoritarianism predicts prejudice equally toward “gay men and lesbians” and “homosexuals"

J.T. Crawford, M.J. Brandt, Y. Inbar, S. Mallinas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Two recent experiments found evidence for what we term the social category label (SCL) effect-that the relationship between right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) and prejudice against gay men and lesbians can be reduced or even eliminated when the target group is labeled "gay men and lesbians" rather than "homosexuals" (Rios, 2013). Although this appears a promising approach to reduce self-reported sexual prejudice, with both theoretical implications for the meaning of RWA itself and practical implications for question wording for assessing these attitudes, there are several reasons to further examine these findings, including (a) inconsistencies with extant evidence, (b) small sample sizes in the original 2 experiments, and (c) concerns with the RWA measures used in the 2 experiments. We tested the SCL hypothesis with a nationally representative sample (Study 1) and close and conceptual replications of Rios' (2013) 2 studies (Studies 2-5) using multiple measures of RWA and prejudice. Across 23 tests of the SCL hypothesis, we obtained 1 statistically significant and 1 marginally significant effect consistent with the hypothesis, 2 significant effects opposite the hypothesis, and 19 nonsignificant effects. A meta-analysis of evidence reported here and in Rios (2013) indicates that RWA strongly predicts antigay prejudice, with no significant variation by label. This confirms the typically robust association between RWA and antigay prejudice and confirms that the SCL effect is not robust. We discuss potential limitations of these studies, theoretical, methodological, and practical implications for our failures to replicate the original SCL studies, and future directions for examining social category label effects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e31-e45
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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