University of Surrey

Test tubes in the lab Research in the ATI Dance Research

Love is heterosexual‐by‐default: Cultural heterosexism in default prototypes of romantic love

Thorne, Sapphira R., Hegarty, Peter and Hepper, Erica G. (2020) Love is heterosexual‐by‐default: Cultural heterosexism in default prototypes of romantic love British Journal of Social Psychology.

Full text not available from this repository.


Cultural heterosexist ideologies assume heterosexuality to be the default norm. Four studies investigated when concepts of romantic love are heterosexual‐by‐default (N = 685). In Studies 1–2, participants generated features of romantic love, in general (i.e., the default prototype) or among one of three sexual orientation‐specific couples (lesbian, gay, or heterosexual). Heterosexual‐identified participants’ default prototypes were more similar to heterosexual than same‐gender prototypes (Study 1). Lesbian‐ and gay‐identified participants’ default prototypes were more similar to both heterosexual and gay male than lesbian prototypes, whereas bisexual‐identified participants’ sexual orientation‐specific prototypes were equivalently similar to the default (Study 2). However, heterosexual‐identified participants rated presented features of love similarly across sexual orientation‐specific conditions (Study 3). In a timed feature‐verification task (Study 4), participants categorized fewer peripheral features of romantic love as relevant to same‐gender than mixed‐gender couples. Activating sexual orientation‐specific representations affected subsequent default concepts of romantic love. We discuss implications for heterosexism theories and intervention.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences > School of Psychology
Authors :
Thorne, Sapphira
Hepper, Erica
Date : 2 October 2020
DOI : 10.1111/bjso.12422
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2020 The Authors. British Journal of Social Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Psychological Society This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Category activation; Prototypes; Cultural heterosexism; Romantic love; Lesbian; Gay and bisexual (LGB) people
Depositing User : Diane Maxfield
Date Deposited : 07 Oct 2020 09:12
Last Modified : 07 Oct 2020 09:12

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

Information about this web site

© The University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey, GU2 7XH, United Kingdom.
+44 (0)1483 300800