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The idea that hardcore, anti-gay homophobics might actually be repressed homosexuals themselves is nothing new, but a study recently published in Journal of Personality and Social Psychology might have found some truth to this theory.

The paper covers six studies conducted in the U.S. and Germany involving 784 university students and relied on what is known as semantic association. This technique has been adapted to similar tests used to assess attitudes like subconscious racial bias, and can reliably distinguish between self-identified straight individuals and those who self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual.

The findings of the test showed that at least 20% who identified themselves as "highly straight" a subsection indicated a high level of same-sex attraction. And those that self-identified as highly straight but exhibited homosexual impulses were "significantly more likely than other participants to favor anti-gay policies; to be willing to assign significantly harsher punishments to perpetrators of petty crimes if they were presumed to be homosexual; and to express greater implicit hostility toward gay subjects (also measured with the help of subliminal priming)."

As ironic as this all sounds, Dr. Ryan notes that the test doesn't necessarily indicate that all those who are anti-gay are secretly in the closet. But if you were extract the numbers from the study (20 percent of self-identified "highly-straight" people), one could theorize that one out of five homophobes might actually be repressed. If you ask us, that sounds like a pretty sad existence.

via NY Times