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Study on the perceptions of people on the ace spectrum


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michaeld

The PT has received and approved the following request:

 

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Hello! I am Levi Rosing, an undergraduate student at Saint Louis University (SLU) in St. Louis, MO. I am working with Dr. Ruth Warner, a professor at SLU.

 

We are currently conducting a study examining the perceptions of people on the asexual spectrum. We are seeking individuals who identify as asexual or on the asexual spectrum to participate in our research and answer questions about your general perceptions of people who are asexual or demisexual.

 

We do have a few things to note:

  1. Some items examine negative beliefs about asexuals that you may find upsetting. Take this survey at your own discretion.

  2. This general survey is also being conducted on other populations and communities.

  3. As a study about asexuals and demisexuals, we want to include your voices, as asexual voices are often marginalized in research.

 

As a token of our appreciation for your help, you can enter to win one of five ($15) VISA gift cards at the end of the study!

 

Participation is expected to take approximately 10-15 minutes.

Please follow the link below to be directed to the online survey:

https://slu.az1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cA7qp4sI91cx3z8

 

Thank you so much for your time!

Please let us know if you have any queries!

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Sarah-Sylvia

Just some feedback on the survey:


1) The question "Asexuals who have intimate relationships are being unfair to their partners." could be phrased better. It's kind of an odd one even in the case where someone asexual has a sexual partner.

 

2) The page of questions asking "Please rate the extent to which you feel these traits characterize someone who would identify as Asexual" doesn't make sense. It either shouldn't exist or there should be an option to say 'not applicable'. Or a question to ask if someone thinks asexuals share personality traits at all (and only answer if someone says yes).

Same thing for the question on emotions.

 

3) "Transgender" is listed in gender identity. I feel there's an oversight in two ways, because being trans is not a gender identity but an extra aspect that 'some' trans people might see as part of their identity. But also that cisgender isn't present as an option makes it feel unequal.

 

4) The question on marital status pairs 'single' and 'never married' together, and even if there's an option for separated, there isn't an option for being in another relationship after a first relationship (or more). It's also possible to have a partnership that isn't domestic, so technically the question has no option to answer when in a relationship but not living together.

 

5) There was no mention or question to know if someone is aromantic. It might not be important to the study but considering some of the questions I would think it's useful info. I would guess that the split attraction model isn't considered, which is unfortunate because we use it in the community.

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DriftingAimlessly

I found the page of personality traits impossible to answer because we are people and all people have those personality traits at any given time/situation. I don't understand how to apply the ratings as a group or in general without context. What exactly are you looking for from this page?  Is it looking for how people use stereotypes? 

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Horse Ham Radio

I answered in the middle of the personality traits as a way of saying I don't believe these are correlated to one's sexuality,.

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Sarah-Sylvia
7 minutes ago, Horse Ham Radio said:

I answered in the middle of the personality traits as a way of saying I don't believe these are correlated to one's sexuality,.

I didn't use the middle but I put one same thing for each. Too bad there wasn't at least instruction for what to put if .. well someone is being real xD.

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DriftingAimlessly

Same

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levitan2003
On 7/3/2024 at 8:07 AM, Sarah-Sylvia said:

Just some feedback on the survey:


1) The question "Asexuals who have intimate relationships are being unfair to their partners." could be phrased better. It's kind of an odd one even in the case where someone asexual has a sexual partner.

 

2) The page of questions asking "Please rate the extent to which you feel these traits characterize someone who would identify as Asexual" doesn't make sense. It either shouldn't exist or there should be an option to say 'not applicable'. Or a question to ask if someone thinks asexuals share personality traits at all (and only answer if someone says yes).

Same thing for the question on emotions.

 

3) "Transgender" is listed in gender identity. I feel there's an oversight in two ways, because being trans is not a gender identity but an extra aspect that 'some' trans people might see as part of their identity. But also that cisgender isn't present as an option makes it feel unequal.

 

4) The question on marital status pairs 'single' and 'never married' together, and even if there's an option for separated, there isn't an option for being in another relationship after a first relationship (or more). It's also possible to have a partnership that isn't domestic, so technically the question has no option to answer when in a relationship but not living together.

 

5) There was no mention or question to know if someone is aromantic. It might not be important to the study but considering some of the questions I would think it's useful info. I would guess that the split attraction model isn't considered, which is unfortunate because we use it in the community.

Hey there, it's Levi, the Principal Investigator:

 

Thank you for providing feedback on the survey! Your insights are extremely valuable to us. Currently, we plan to replicate the methods of previous studies to examine attitudes toward asexual individuals in individuals who do not experience sexual attraction. As far as we know, this is the first time these scales are being used specifically on asexual participants. I believe it's crucial to include asexual voices in research on attitudes toward asexual individuals, which hasn't always been the case before. We have additional plans for future studies.

 

Your feedback is highly appreciated! Feel free to ask any further questions if you have any.

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Sarah-Sylvia
20 minutes ago, levitan2003 said:

Hey there, it's Levi, the Principal Investigator:

 

Thank you for providing feedback on the survey! Your insights are extremely valuable to us. Currently, we plan to replicate the methods of previous studies to examine attitudes toward asexual individuals in individuals who do not experience sexual attraction. As far as we know, this is the first time these scales are being used specifically on asexual participants. I believe it's crucial to include asexual voices in research on attitudes toward asexual individuals, which hasn't always been the case before. We have additional plans for future studies, including the use of vignettes to provide participants with a better understanding.

 

In response to some of the points you raised:
1. The item in question is from a validated scale in the literature, originally tested on non-asexual participants. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.
2. We include these items in the hope that they will reveal participants' own perceptions of an asexual individual. Once again, this scale has been published in the literature and validated on non-asexual participants. Thank you for your comment.
3. Gender identity is included as a "select all" question, allowing individuals to identify as male, non-binary, female, or any other listed gender, including transgender. This enables us to differentiate between a variety of participants, especially non-binary individuals who may or may not identify as transgender.
4. The answer to this question is a limitation of the survey.
5. While I acknowledge the importance of the split attraction model and romantic orientation, our current focus is on examining attitudes toward asexual individuals, regardless of their placement on the romance spectrum. Again, this study is also being done on other communities outside of the asexual community, so please keep that in mind.

 

Your feedback is highly appreciated! Feel free to ask any further questions if you have any.

Thanks for the response. Though I would say it doesn't quite handle what I brought up, but hopefully it gets taken into account when writing about the survey.

In particular, I brought up #1 because there's missing information for the question to make sense, #2 misses a realistic option to say that everyone (who's asexual) is different in terms of personality and emotions experienced,  and #3 was probably misunderstood for why it was brought up.

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Karret
2 hours ago, DriftingAimlessly said:

I found the page of personality traits impossible to answer because we are people and all people have those personality traits at any given time/situation. I don't understand how to apply the ratings as a group or in general without context. What exactly are you looking for from this page?  Is it looking for how people use stereotypes? 

I ended up putting most of them at about a 5 because if we're talking about a group, well there's going to be some aces that are just about EVERY one of those or very opposite of those traits at all times. So the best those traits can be would be like.... somewhat accurate, because for some people it is, and for others, it isn't XD

I was hoping there'd be a section where I could include my thoughts on things or why I chose X, Y, Z, but, there wasn't, which was kind of a bummer.

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JordanIsMyPenName

So, I read a lot of social science studies for my job (and grad school). I mean, a LOT. And what I'll say from experience is that one limitation of all such research is that most of the time they're having to follow established frameworks that can be replicated in other studies/populations. What I gathered was that these trait and emotion scales we all hate have been used in research with non-asexual people before, and this study is unique in extending the same framework to people who self-identify as asexual, giving us the opportunity to have a voice in research that is, well, about us.

 

I think it would be very interesting indeed to examine the data collected to see if asexuals are less prone to stereotype traits and emotions as being more indicative of asexuality than allosexual people do. I see the complaint enough that, for instance, asexual media representation always paints us as Sheldon Cooper-types and does not reflect the panoply of personalities we all belong to. Perhaps this research could go on to be used to dispel those stereotypes; that would be cool. Collecting personality data on self-identified aces could be an area for further investigation regarding this topic. For instance, I am extraverted, sex-favorable, and immensely open to new experiences, settings, and people, which definitely goes against the stereotypes I keep hearing about asexuality - and about people who hang around on online forums a lot. Ahem. 

 

Meanwhile, the biggest flaw I found in the study was that it revealed a heteronormative bias in its questions about asexual men not having met the right woman yet, and vice versa. In societies that have become more accepting of homosexuality (and other sexualities), like here in the United States, it seems to me there is still an oppressive culture around being sexual of some kind, any kind, and that asexuality still bears a stigma contrasted with all other sexualities. The question might have read "hasn't found the right partner yet" to address this problem; as it is written, I think the stigma against asexuality can't be separated from the heteronormativity. That is, how would a person who's gay characterize an asexual, if they really believed asexuality isn't real or something? (Maybe they think the asexual man just hasn't met the right man yet, in which case, do they click agree, or disagree?) That's just my two cents, though.

 

Overall, I think this survey was definitely still biased toward an allosexual and hetero perspective, but that's not surprising since the existing research has focused on allosexuals, and our culture is still heteronormative. It's not a great study for reflecting the perspective of those of us on the inside of the asexual spectrum, but it's opening the door to letting us be heard, and I do appreciate that. Happy clicking, everyone!

 

-Jordan

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levitan2003
On 7/7/2024 at 5:24 PM, JordanIsMyPenName said:

So, I read a lot of social science studies for my job (and grad school). I mean, a LOT. And what I'll say from experience is that one limitation of all such research is that most of the time they're having to follow established frameworks that can be replicated in other studies/populations. What I gathered was that these trait and emotion scales we all hate have been used in research with non-asexual people before, and this study is unique in extending the same framework to people who self-identify as asexual, giving us the opportunity to have a voice in research that is, well, about us.

 

I think it would be very interesting indeed to examine the data collected to see if asexuals are less prone to stereotype traits and emotions as being more indicative of asexuality than allosexual people do. I see the complaint enough that, for instance, asexual media representation always paints us as Sheldon Cooper-types and does not reflect the panoply of personalities we all belong to. Perhaps this research could go on to be used to dispel those stereotypes; that would be cool. Collecting personality data on self-identified aces could be an area for further investigation regarding this topic. For instance, I am extraverted, sex-favorable, and immensely open to new experiences, settings, and people, which definitely goes against the stereotypes I keep hearing about asexuality - and about people who hang around on online forums a lot. Ahem. 

 

Meanwhile, the biggest flaw I found in the study was that it revealed a heteronormative bias in its questions about asexual men not having met the right woman yet, and vice versa. In societies that have become more accepting of homosexuality (and other sexualities), like here in the United States, it seems to me there is still an oppressive culture around being sexual of some kind, any kind, and that asexuality still bears a stigma contrasted with all other sexualities. The question might have read "hasn't found the right partner yet" to address this problem; as it is written, I think the stigma against asexuality can't be separated from the heteronormativity. That is, how would a person who's gay characterize an asexual, if they really believed asexuality isn't real or something? (Maybe they think the asexual man just hasn't met the right man yet, in which case, do they click agree, or disagree?) That's just my two cents, though.

 

Overall, I think this survey was definitely still biased toward an allosexual and hetero perspective, but that's not surprising since the existing research has focused on allosexuals, and our culture is still heteronormative. It's not a great study for reflecting the perspective of those of us on the inside of the asexual spectrum, but it's opening the door to letting us be heard, and I do appreciate that. Happy clicking, everyone!

 

-Jordan

Hi Jordan,

 

I appreciate the generous feedback. 

 

In terms of the paragraph about the flaw, I agree, it is heteronormative. Psychology, like a bunch of other fields, is super big on replication, and so the scale you are mentioning is being replicated from the literature and was validated on non-asexual participants (this study,

 

We have a ton of ideas, and I am so happy people are giving us feedback. Thank you!

 

 

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EverlastingWinter
On 7/3/2024 at 9:27 AM, Horse Ham Radio said:

I answered in the middle of the personality traits as a way of saying I don't believe these are correlated to one's sexuality,.

Same here, I found that set of answers to be hard to pin down. Everyone has a different personality.

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