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RESULTSINTRODUCTION Sexual desire, as the cognitive component of sexual arousal, is thought to be influenced by attention directed, and emotional response,

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Presentation on theme: "RESULTSINTRODUCTION Sexual desire, as the cognitive component of sexual arousal, is thought to be influenced by attention directed, and emotional response,"— Presentation transcript:

1 RESULTSINTRODUCTION Sexual desire, as the cognitive component of sexual arousal, is thought to be influenced by attention directed, and emotional response, to sexual stimuli. This study uses multiple psychophysiological and self-report indices of attention and emotional response to test a proposed model of sexual desire in men and women (see figure below). Attention and emotional responses to sexual stimuli and their relationship to sexual desire Prause, N. 1, 2, Janssen, E. 1,2, and Hetrick, W. 1 1 Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, 1101 E Tenth St., Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, 303 Morrison Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana METHODS Sexual desire levels were assessed by a latent factor score derived from the Sexual Desire Inventory (solitary and dyadic subscales) and the Sexual Inhibition/Sexual Excitation Scales (Excitation subscale). These scores were used to divide participants into 3 equal groups: High, medium, and low. Visual stimuli were photographs from the International Affective Picture System and additional, more explicit erotic photographs from Spiering, Everaerd, and Elzinga (2002). Emotional response to sexual stimuli was assessed by startle eyeblink modulation (SEM), retrahens auriculam modulation (RAM), and emotional ratings of the visual stimuli. SEM is a well-replicated psychophysiological measure whereby the startle magnitude is increased during the presentation of unpleasant arousing (e.g., mutilated body) as compared to pleasant arousing (e.g., erotica) stimuli. SEM is thought to be sensitive to defensive processes while RAM is more sensitive to appetitive processes. Attention to sexual stimuli was assessed by viewing time during rating, a dot detection task, electroencephalography evoked response potentials (recorded during the startle modulation), to the visual stimuli. Dot detection is a task in which two images are briefly presented side-by-side on a computer. When the pictures disappear, participants are asked to locate a target (e.g., dot) as quickly as possible. If the target was in the area of the stimulus that they were attending to, they should be faster to find it. Electroencephalography is the measure of rapidly changing electrical potentials across the head’s surface. These can be analyzed as evoked response potentials, thought to reflect a variety of fast cognitive processes, and we focused on the P300 component. CONCLUSIONS Several lines of evidence strongly suggested that attention to sexual stimuli was a key correlate of sexual desire level, while the emotional responses measured were only predictive if they could be consciously mediated. However, it appears that individuals with lower sexual desire attend more to sexual stimuli than those with higher sexual desire, possibly because of the novelty of sexual stimuli. Electroencephalography SexualPleasant (nonsexual) Unpleasant Neutral The sexual stimuli produced a higher P300 than the unpleasant stimuli, and the unpleasant stimuli produced a higher P300 than the neutral or pleasant (nonsexual) stimuli. The high sexual desire group also had a higher average P300, which appears due to greater activation in response to any emotional, but not neutral, stimuli. Dot detection task High desire participants were actually slower to find the target when it was in the area of a sexual stimulus. Rating Startle modulationStudy 1Study 2 Ratings of emotional content did not consistently predict sexual desire levels. Physiological indices of emotional response to sexual stimuli did not vary by sexual desire level.


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