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Beyond the Valley of the Genitals: Using eye-tracking to analyze sexual arousal and desire in women and men

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Beyond the Valley of the Genitals: Using eye-tracking to analyze sexual arousal and desire in women and men

Farisello, Lucia (2017) Beyond the Valley of the Genitals: Using eye-tracking to analyze sexual arousal and desire in women and men. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

ABSTRACT
Beyond the Valley of the Genitals: Using eye tracking to analyze sexual arousal and desire in women and men
Lucia Farisello, PhD. Concordia University, 2017
Traditional models of sexual arousal and desire in humans have focused on either physiological measures (Kaplan, 1974; Masters & Johnson), or on self-report (ex.Derogatis & Melisaratos, 1979). However, some have also proposed that cognitive processes play a key role in connecting both arousal and desire. It is unknown if a stimulus is deemed sexually salient at a low processing level (i.e., at the level of sensation), or if more higher-level cognitive processing (i.e., perception, recognition) is required to generate a sexual response to the stimuli, or a combination of both. In addition, are there gender differences to this perception of sexual stimuli. Therefore, the aim of this thesis was to use cognitive measures that target low level and high level processing tasks to examine whether eye-tracking methodology could reveal patterns that constitute a more objective assessment of sexual arousal and desire. The results indicate that low level tasks, which used timed response tasks with visual sexual stimuli, created a delay effect predominantly in men, and to a lesser extent in women. When women were subjectively aroused (as assessed using the SADI; Toledano & Pfaus, 2006) the observed level of cognitive delay increased (i.e., latency to respond to stimuli). However, low level processing does not produce a sexually induced cognitive delay effect in women. This finding suggests a reflexive response in women that is not sufficient to impose a cognitive delay. In contrast, using high level processing tasks that exposed participants to viewing sexual stimuli for longer durations (specifically, viewing nude versus clothed images, viewing high versus low arousal images, and viewing an erotic movie) lead to gender distinct patterns of eye movements concordant with reported levels of subjective arousal. Interestingly, women shown specific eye movement patterns when viewing images that they rate as highly arousing (in comparison to low arousing images). Together, these data suggest that women may require longer exposure to sexual stimuli in order to engage and sustain desire, which can then produce concordant results with self-reported arousal.
Keywords: Cognition, Eye tracking, Visual Sexual Stimuli, Sexually induced cognitive delay.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Farisello, Lucia
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Ph. D.
Program:Psychology
Date:4 May 2017
Thesis Supervisor(s):Pfaus, Jim G. and Johnson, Aaron P.
ID Code:982834
Deposited By: LUCY FARISELLO
Deposited On:08 Nov 2017 21:59
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:55

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  • Beyond the Valley of the Genitals: Using eye-tracking to analyze sexual arousal and desire in women and men. (deposited 08 Nov 2017 21:59) [Currently Displayed]
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