Third-person perception and opposition to gay marriage

If you are into academics and psychology, this may interest you.

A study from Eastern Kentucky University researcher Matthew Winslow tells us that “no one” believes that same-sex marriages harm their own relationships. But they do think that other people’s relationships are at risk.

The study was published in the April 10, 2012 issue of the journal Social Psychology in an article titled “Not My Marriage.”

This is what is called “third-person perception” in which a person believes that others are more easily influenced by media and advertising than they themselves are.

The Eastern Kentucky group surveyed 120 straight, unmarried undergraduates about their feelings toward same-sex marriage and their beliefs about the effects of legalization of same-sex marriages on their own relationships and those of others.

Also in play seems to be a personality trait called right-wing authoritarianism. People who exhibit that trait value tradition and authority, so they see themselves as strong and others as weak. But the study also shows that everybody considers themselves a bit better than others.

“If everyone believes that other people are more affected than they are, that’s just not logical,” said Winslow, who suggested that focusing on putting yourself in others’ shoes might help banish this bias. “If you believe you are not going to be affected by [same-sex marriage], just recognize that probably other people believe the same way, so the good news is that probably people aren’t going to be affected by it that much.”

The source for this story is Live Science.


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