The Effects of Exposure to Religious Music on Unconscious Bias Against Gay Men

The Freilich Project invites members of its research network, and all interested individuals, to a Freilich Research Network Occasional Seminar:

"The Effects of Exposure to Religious Music on Unconscious Bias Against Gay Men"

Dr Joel Anderson, La Trobe University & Australian Catholic University


While the literature has well-established the religion-homophobia relationship, less is known about unconscious religious-based attitudes towards this group. In this presentation I will first present novel methods for measuring unconscious bias against gay men, and then explore a variety of relationships between this bias and religion. Following this, I will introduce concepts of religious priming, in which religious concepts are experimentally activated in the mind and then subsequent attitudes are measured. I will demonstrate some research in which bible passages or pictures of religious people are used to activate religion in the mind of religious and non-religious heterosexual individuals. Finally, I will present evidence that religious music can be used to activate a religious ‘script’ which results in higher levels of homophobia. In summary, this presentation will present findings that demonstrate religious priming effects can be induced cross-modally, and that exposure to both visual and auditory religious primes results in a causal relationship between religion and unconscious bias against gay men.


Dr Joel Anderson is a part-time research fellow at the Australian Research Institute for Sex, Health, and Society at La Trobe University. He is also a part-time lecturer in social psychology at the Melbourne campus of Australian Catholic University. He is the proud recipient of the 2017 Herbert & Valmae Freilich Foundation Early Career Researcher Small Grants Scheme.

Light lunch provided. Please RSVP if possible.

Updated:  31 May 2019/Responsible Officer:  Freilich Project/Page Contact:  Herbert & Valmae Freilich Project