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The Connection Between the Physiological and Psychological Reactions to Sexually Explicit Materials: A Literature Summary Using Meta-Analysis

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The results of the investigations providing data on the connection between measures of sexual arousal and positive psychological affect indicate a positive relationship whether measured directly (r=.212) or by a comparison of manipulation check data (r=.223). Female research participants demonstrate more negative emotional responses than men exposed to the same content (r=-.248), but the level of physiological arousal favors men by a much smaller magnitude (r=.134). The response to pornography on the basis of gender reflects not only a physiological difference in reaction but a psychological interpretation of that reaction as well.

Keywords: Gender; Media Effects; Meta-Analysis; Physiology; Pornography

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-12-01

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