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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

Total number of fixations on female and male stimuli for women (a) and men (b).Error bars represent 95% CI.
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pone.0152785.g006: Total number of fixations on female and male stimuli for women (a) and men (b).Error bars represent 95% CI.

Mentions: We examined the total number of fixations in a ROI (total fixation count), with more fixations indicating greater attentional capture and engagement. There was a significant main effect of Trial Block, F(1.60, 115.31) = 26.75, p < .001, ηp2 = .27, such that total fixation count decreased across blocks (see Table 6; all ps < .001). The interaction between Stimulus Gender and Participant Gender was significant, F(1, 72) = 208.51, p < .001, and was followed up using Toothaker’s t-tests separately by Participant Gender. Women had significantly more fixations on male than female targets, t(73) = 2.81, p = .01, d = .85 (see Fig 6a) and men had significantly more fixations on female than male targets t(73) = 6.74, p < .001, d = 3.83 (see Fig 6b); that is, both women and men showed gender-specific patterns for their total fixation counts.


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

Dawson SJ, Chivers ML - PLoS ONE (2016)

Total number of fixations on female and male stimuli for women (a) and men (b).Error bars represent 95% CI.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

pone.0152785.g006: Total number of fixations on female and male stimuli for women (a) and men (b).Error bars represent 95% CI.
Mentions: We examined the total number of fixations in a ROI (total fixation count), with more fixations indicating greater attentional capture and engagement. There was a significant main effect of Trial Block, F(1.60, 115.31) = 26.75, p < .001, ηp2 = .27, such that total fixation count decreased across blocks (see Table 6; all ps < .001). The interaction between Stimulus Gender and Participant Gender was significant, F(1, 72) = 208.51, p < .001, and was followed up using Toothaker’s t-tests separately by Participant Gender. Women had significantly more fixations on male than female targets, t(73) = 2.81, p = .01, d = .85 (see Fig 6a) and men had significantly more fixations on female than male targets t(73) = 6.74, p < .001, d = 3.83 (see Fig 6b); that is, both women and men showed gender-specific patterns for their total fixation counts.

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