Physiological arousal and self-reported valence for erotica images correlate with sexual policy preferences

Amanda Friesen, Kevin B. Smith, John R. Hibbing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Individuals do not always accurately report the forces driving their policy preferences. Such inaccuracy may result from the fact that true justifications are socially undesirable or less persuasive than competing justifications or are unavailable in conscious awareness. Because of the delicate nature of these issues, people may be particularly likely to misstate the reasons for preferences on gay marriage, abortion, abstinenceonly education, and premarital sex. Advocates on both sides typically justify their preferences in terms of preserving social order, maintaining moral values, or protecting civil liberties, not in terms of their own sexual preferences. Though these are the stated reasons, in empirical tests we find that psychophysiological response to sexual images also may be a significant driver of policy attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-470
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Public Opinion Research
Volume29
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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