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Pictorial cues and sexual desire : an experimental approach

Conaglen, Helen M. and Evans, Ian M. 2006, Pictorial cues and sexual desire : an experimental approach, Archives of sexual behavior, vol. 35, no. 2, pp. 201-216, doi: 10.1007/s10508-005-9000-8.

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Title Pictorial cues and sexual desire : an experimental approach
Author(s) Conaglen, Helen M.
Evans, Ian M.
Journal name Archives of sexual behavior
Volume number 35
Issue number 2
Start page 201
End page 216
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publication date 2006-04
ISSN 0004-0002
1573-2800
Keyword(s) sex
information processing
sexual desire
sexual content induced delay
Summary The cognitive processing of sexual and non-sexual pictorial stimuli was examined to see whether picture rating and recognition tasks have potential utility as a means of assessing levels of sexual desire. Previous research has revealed slower responding to sexual compared to neutral semantic cues in persons with lower self-reported sexual desire. The present study investigated whether sexual pictorial cues evoked a similarly slower responding in people reporting low sexual desire compared to other individuals. A total of 136 participants completed two self-report measures of sexual desire (the Hurlbert Index of Sexual Desire and the Sexual Desire Inventory) before carrying out tasks involving affective ratings and recognition memory for pictorial stimuli. Participants were classified into relatively low, average, and higher groups on the basis of their scores on the desire measures. The stimuli were selected from the International Affective Picture System, and the tasks included (1) rating the valence, arousal, and sense of dominance or control for each picture, (2) recognition of previously seen images, and (3) a second rating of pictures viewed earlier. Level of sexual desire did not influence responding in the male participants. Female participants with lower sexual desire rated sexual images less pleasant and less arousing than the other participants, and completed picture recognition tasks more quickly. Sexual desire levels significantly influenced the interest ratings women gave to sexual pictures. We also found sexual content induced delays. These delays were not significantly different among desire groups. The variation in responding linked to levels of sexual desire in women suggests that more investigation of this methodology in a clinically diagnosed population might contribute to an understanding of low desire, and help design interventions addressing distress due to lack of sexual desire.
Language eng
DOI 10.1007/s10508-005-9000-8
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, Springer Science+Business Media
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30021912

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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