OBJECTIVES: The alliance theory holds that homosexual behavior in humans may have evolved because it reinforced same-sex alliances which contributed to survival and reproduction. The present study was designed to test this evolutionary hypothesis in view of the strongly negative perception of homosexual behavior. It was predicted that targets who engaged in homosexual behavior would be perceived as likely to achieve greater social status and reproductive opportunities when the behavior reinforced an alliance that led to increased social opportunities.
METHODS: Three hundred sixteen men and women read scenarios in which a target engaged in homosexual behavior and then answered questions about the target's future social status and reproductive opportunities as measured by number of sexual partners. The data were analyzed in two 3 (social outcome: positive vs. neutral vs. negative) x 2 (gender of target) x 2 (gender of participant) analyses of variance.
RESULTS: The results supported the predictions and demonstrated that targets were perceived as likely to have the greatest social status and reproductive opportunities in the positive outcome condition.
CONCLUSION: The alliance theory of homosexual behavior may have heuristic value for the evolutionary study of homosexual behavior and its perception.