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Pupillary responses to static images of men and women. A possible measure of sexual interest?

Snowden, Robert, McKinnon, Aimee, Fitoussi, Julie and Gray, Nicola 2019. Pupillary responses to static images of men and women. A possible measure of sexual interest? Journal of Sex Research 56 (1) , pp. 74-84. 10.1080/00224499.2017.1394959

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The pupil dilates to images that are arousing. In Experiment 1, we examined if the pupil’s response to brief presentations (2,000 ms) of static images could be used to identify individuals’ sexual orientation. Participants were grouped according to their self-reported gender and sexual orientation (male heterosexual, N = 20; male bisexual, N = 13; male homosexual, N = 19; female heterosexual, N = 28; female bisexual, N = 21; female homosexual, N = 17). Pupil size was monitored to images of men in seminude poses, women in seminude poses, or neutral images. Every group showed the same pattern of responses, with the greatest dilation to male images, then female images, and least dilation to the neutral images. Experiment 2 used more tightly controlled stimuli and tested at two different image durations (150 and 3,000 ms). Both heterosexual men (N = 18) and women (N = 20) showed greater pupil dilation to images of nude men than to nude women. However, in Experiment 3, where we reduced the erotic content by using images of clothed models, both heterosexual men and women showed greater pupil dilation to images of women. The results showed that while the pupil does dilate strongly to sexual imagery, its response to these brief static images does not correspond to a person’s sexual orientation in a simple manner

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 0022-4499
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 18 October 2017
Date of Acceptance: 17 October 2017
Last Modified: 11 Mar 2020 01:03

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