Author(s): Fromberger P, Jordan K, von Herder J, Steinkrauss H, Nemetschek R,
Abstract Share this page
Abstract It has been proposed that sexual stimuli will be processed in a comparable manner to other evolutionarily meaningful stimuli (such as spiders or snakes) and therefore elicit an attentional bias and more attentional engagement (Spiering and Everaerd, In E. Janssen (Ed.), The psychophysiology of sex (pp. 166-183). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007). To investigate early and late attentional processes while looking at sexual stimuli, heterosexual men (n = 12) viewed pairs of sexually preferred (images of women) and sexually non-preferred images (images of girls, boys or men), while eye movements were measured. Early attentional processing (initial orienting) was assessed by the number of first fixations and late attentional processing (maintenance of attention) was assessed by relative fixation time. Results showed that relative fixation time was significantly longer for sexually preferred stimuli than for sexually non-preferred stimuli. Furthermore, the first fixation was more often directed towards the preferred sexual stimulus, when simultaneously presented with a non-sexually preferred stimulus. Thus, the current study showed for the first time an attentional bias to sexually relevant stimuli when presented simultaneously with sexually irrelevant pictures. This finding, along with the discovery that heterosexual men maintained their attention to sexually relevant stimuli, highlights the importance of investigating early and late attentional processes while viewing sexual stimuli. Furthermore, the current study showed that sexually relevant stimuli are favored by the human attentional system.
This article was published in Arch Sex Behav
and referenced in Journal of Forensic Psychology