In a new study published in The Journal of Applied Social Psychology, psychologists Kristin J. Anderson and Melinda Kanner explored undergraduate students’ evaluations of lesbian, gay, and heterosexual professors of a hypothetical course, Psychology of Human Sexuality. They provided students with a syllabus of the course, providing biographical information about the hypothetical professor including political ideology, gender, and sexual identity. The researchers also varied whether the syllabus had typographical errors. They examined whether students would differ in their evaluations of the lesbian/gay and heterosexual professors, especially in terms of whether the professor was politically biased.
The researchers found that lesbian and gay professors were viewed as politically biased, while heterosexual professors with the exact same syllabus were viewed as objective. On average, lesbian/gay professors were rated more harshly, and students pointed to political bias and typographical errors (typos) on the syllabus as their main reason for the negative evaluation. However, heterosexual professors were not negatively evaluated for political bias and typographical errors.
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