Instructional Orientation, Self-attention, and Responses to Erotica Among Persons High in Sex Guilt

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Abstract

In previous research, persons high in sex guilt reported being less aroused by erotica than persons low in sex guilt, when self-attention was enhanced. That finding is interpretable in either of two ways: (a) self-focus led to suppression of the arousal response among those subjects, or (b) self-focus led to denial of experienced arousal among those subjects. Th'e present study tested the denial interpretation, based on the following assumption. If the context does not lead arousal to be labeled as sexual in nature, any arousal experienced should not be threatening to persons high in sex guilt, and denial should not occur. Subjects high in sex guilt were exposed to sexually arousing visual stimuli under one of two instructional orientations. They were led to assess either (a) the sexual arousal, or (b) the undifferentiated arousal, which they experienced in response to the stimuli. As expected, self-attention led to reports of less intense arousal only when the arousal had been labeled as sexual in nature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-260
Number of pages8
JournalBasic and Applied Social Psychology
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1981

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Erotica
Guilt
Arousal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

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title = "Instructional Orientation, Self-attention, and Responses to Erotica Among Persons High in Sex Guilt",
abstract = "In previous research, persons high in sex guilt reported being less aroused by erotica than persons low in sex guilt, when self-attention was enhanced. That finding is interpretable in either of two ways: (a) self-focus led to suppression of the arousal response among those subjects, or (b) self-focus led to denial of experienced arousal among those subjects. Th'e present study tested the denial interpretation, based on the following assumption. If the context does not lead arousal to be labeled as sexual in nature, any arousal experienced should not be threatening to persons high in sex guilt, and denial should not occur. Subjects high in sex guilt were exposed to sexually arousing visual stimuli under one of two instructional orientations. They were led to assess either (a) the sexual arousal, or (b) the undifferentiated arousal, which they experienced in response to the stimuli. As expected, self-attention led to reports of less intense arousal only when the arousal had been labeled as sexual in nature.",
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