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Allocation of attentional resources during habituation and dishabituation of male sexual arousal
journal contributionposted on 01.12.1999, 00:00 authored by Eric KoukounasEric Koukounas, R Over
A secondary-task probe (tone) was presented intermittently while men viewed erotic film segments across a session involving 18 trials with the same film segment (habituation), then 2 trials with different film segments (novelty) and 2 trials with reinstatement of the original segment (dishabituation). Reaction time to the tone (an index of the extent processing resources were being committed to the erotic stimulus) shifted during the session in parallel with changes that occurred in penile tumescence and subjective sexual arousal. The decrease in sexual arousal over the first 18 trials in the session was accompanied by a progressively faster reaction to the tone, novel stimulation led to recovery of sexual arousal and a slower reaction to the tone, and on trials 21 and 22 sexual arousal and reaction time levels were above the values that prevailed immediately prior to novel stimulation. Results are discussed with reference to the relationship between habituation and attention.