Prejudices and discrimination as goal activated and threat driven: The affordance management approach applied to sexual prejudice.

Stereotypes, prejudices, and discriminatory behaviors directed toward people based on their sexual orientation vary broadly. Existing perspectives on sexual prejudice argue for different underlying causes, sometimes provide disparate or conflicting evidence for its roots, and typically fail to account for variances observed across studies. We propose an affordance management approach to understanding sexual prejudice, which weds the fundamental motives theory with the sociofunctional threat-based approach to prejudice to provide a broader explanation for the causes and outcomes of sexual prejudice and to explain inter- and intragroup prejudices more broadly. Prejudices arise as specific emotions designed to engage functional behavioral responses to perceived threats and opportunities (i.e., affordances) posed by different sexual orientation groups, and interact with the perceiver’s chronic or temporarily activated fundamental motives (e.g., parenting, mating), which determine the relevance of certain target affordances. Our perspective predicts what stereotype content is likely to direct specific affective and behavioral reactions (i.e., the stereotypes that relay threat- and opportunity-relevant information) and when the affordance-emotion-behavior link is likely to engage (i.e., when those threats and opportunities are directly relevant to the perceiver’s current fundamental goal). This article synthesizes the extant sexual prejudice literature from an affordance management approach to demonstrate how fundamental goals interact with preexisting perceptions to drive perceptual, affective, and behavioral responses toward sexual orientation groups, and provides a degree of explanatory power heretofore missing from the prejudice literature. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)