Associate Professor Fiona Barlow, The University of Queensland

AProf Fiona Barlow

Associate Professor Fiona Barlow, The University of Queensland


Understanding sexual isolation and “incel” ideology


The term ‘incel’ is an abbreviation for ‘involuntary celibate,’ and refers to the inability to find a sexual or romantic partner despite attempts to do so. Men who identify as incels (i.e., involuntary celibates) appear to hold a unique set of beliefs and attitudes about women, sex, and dating (which we term incel ideology), which they believe is a direct result of the sexual and romantic rejection that they face. In this talk I will discuss two studies, the first of which examines predictors of sexual isolation (or sexlessness) in men and women, to aim to determine core factors associated with sexlessness, and whether they differ by sex. In the second study we examine predictors of incel ideology in single, heterosexual men, to test whether sexual rejection is the core predictor of this suite of beliefs, or whether other more stable factors (such as sexism) better predict such ideology. The results of each study helps to shed light on an underresearched phenomenon, and begin to elucidate the ways in which sexlessness and inceldom are similar and different.

Speaker bio: Fiona Barlow is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland. As a social psychologist, Fiona’s primary work centres on understanding how prejudice and discrimination is developed and maintained, as well as how it impacts people. She also has a keen interest in personality, behaviour genetics, interpersonal relationships, and longitundinal research. She is a past ARC DECRA and Future Fellow.