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Gender-Specificity of Initial and Controlled Visual Attention to Sexual Stimuli in Androphilic Women and Gynephilic Men.

Dawson SJ, Chivers ML - PLoS ONE (2016)

Bottom Line: In contrast, both men and women exhibited gender-specific patterns of controlled attention, although this effect was stronger among men.Finally, measures of attention and self-reported attraction were positively related in both men and women.These findings are discussed in the context of the information-processing model and evolutionary mechanisms that may have evolved to promote gendered attentional systems.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Research across groups and methods consistently finds a gender difference in patterns of specificity of genital response; however, empirically supported mechanisms to explain this difference are lacking. The information-processing model of sexual arousal posits that automatic and controlled cognitive processes are requisite for the generation of sexual responses. Androphilic women's gender-nonspecific response patterns may be the result of sexually-relevant cues that are common to both preferred and nonpreferred genders capturing attention and initiating an automatic sexual response, whereas men's attentional system may be biased towards the detection and response to sexually-preferred cues only. In the present study, we used eye tracking to assess visual attention to sexually-preferred and nonpreferred cues in a sample of androphilic women and gynephilic men. Results support predictions from the information-processing model regarding gendered processing of sexual stimuli in men and women. Men's initial attention patterns were gender-specific, whereas women's were nonspecific. In contrast, both men and women exhibited gender-specific patterns of controlled attention, although this effect was stronger among men. Finally, measures of attention and self-reported attraction were positively related in both men and women. These findings are discussed in the context of the information-processing model and evolutionary mechanisms that may have evolved to promote gendered attentional systems.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Illustration of the time sequence of a single trial.
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pone.0152785.g001: Illustration of the time sequence of a single trial.

Mentions: There were 40 trials in each experimental block and three experimental blocks in total. Blocks 1 and 2 contained novel image pairs. In order to examine potential effects of familiarity on patterns of visual attention the images in block 3 were images previously used in blocks 1 and 2 in new pairings and new locations. Each trial involved two images presented simultaneously (one male target and one female target) in opposing corners of the screen (top left/bottom right or top right/bottom left), and the image location was balanced across trials, with the distance to each other and the center fixation held constant (see Fig 1). The picture pairings were matched with respect to their width and were equidistant from the center fixation point.


Gender-Specificity of Initial and Controlled Visual Attention to Sexual Stimuli in Androphilic Women and Gynephilic Men.

Dawson SJ, Chivers ML - PLoS ONE (2016)

Illustration of the time sequence of a single trial.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4835092&req=5

pone.0152785.g001: Illustration of the time sequence of a single trial.
Mentions: There were 40 trials in each experimental block and three experimental blocks in total. Blocks 1 and 2 contained novel image pairs. In order to examine potential effects of familiarity on patterns of visual attention the images in block 3 were images previously used in blocks 1 and 2 in new pairings and new locations. Each trial involved two images presented simultaneously (one male target and one female target) in opposing corners of the screen (top left/bottom right or top right/bottom left), and the image location was balanced across trials, with the distance to each other and the center fixation held constant (see Fig 1). The picture pairings were matched with respect to their width and were equidistant from the center fixation point.

Bottom Line: In contrast, both men and women exhibited gender-specific patterns of controlled attention, although this effect was stronger among men.Finally, measures of attention and self-reported attraction were positively related in both men and women.These findings are discussed in the context of the information-processing model and evolutionary mechanisms that may have evolved to promote gendered attentional systems.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Research across groups and methods consistently finds a gender difference in patterns of specificity of genital response; however, empirically supported mechanisms to explain this difference are lacking. The information-processing model of sexual arousal posits that automatic and controlled cognitive processes are requisite for the generation of sexual responses. Androphilic women's gender-nonspecific response patterns may be the result of sexually-relevant cues that are common to both preferred and nonpreferred genders capturing attention and initiating an automatic sexual response, whereas men's attentional system may be biased towards the detection and response to sexually-preferred cues only. In the present study, we used eye tracking to assess visual attention to sexually-preferred and nonpreferred cues in a sample of androphilic women and gynephilic men. Results support predictions from the information-processing model regarding gendered processing of sexual stimuli in men and women. Men's initial attention patterns were gender-specific, whereas women's were nonspecific. In contrast, both men and women exhibited gender-specific patterns of controlled attention, although this effect was stronger among men. Finally, measures of attention and self-reported attraction were positively related in both men and women. These findings are discussed in the context of the information-processing model and evolutionary mechanisms that may have evolved to promote gendered attentional systems.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus