Political Science Publications

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Social Science Quarterly

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Sensitivity to disgust predicts social attitudes, but this relationship can shift depending on gender and whether response to disgust is measured through surveys or physiological tests. We are interested in exploring the relationship between gender, political preferences, and different measures of disgust. Methods We systematically evaluate these interrelationships by comparing self-reported disgust sensitivity and changes in skin conductance while viewing disgusting images, accounting for gender and attitudes toward gay marriage. Results We find that although there is no physiological difference between genders, opponents of gay marriage conform to gender-role expectations in self-reports, with women reporting higher levels of disgust than males. For males, physiological response better predicts attitudes on gay marriage because there are physiological, but not self-reported, differences between supporters and opponents. Self-report and physiology both predict gay marriage attitudes for females. Conclusion Our findings suggest that combining traditional survey and physiological measures provides leverage in exploring questions related to social behaviors and their origins.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Citation of this paper:

Balzer, A., & Jacobs, C. M. (2011). Gender and physiological effects in connecting disgust to political preferences. Social Science Quarterly, 92(5), 1297-1313.

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