Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Measuring Implicit Sexual Response Biases to Nude Male and Female Pictures in Androphilic and Gynephilic Men

Snowden, Wichter, and Gray (2008) demonstrated that an Implicit Association Test and a Priming Task both predicted the sexual orientation of gynephilic and androphilic men in terms of their attraction biases towards pictures of nude males and females. For both measures, relative bias scores were obtained, with no information on the separate response biases to each target gender. 

The present study sought to extend this research by assessing both relative and individual implicit biases using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP). An explicit measure screened for men with androphilic (n = 16) or gynephilic (n = 16) orientations on the dimensions of "sexual attraction," "sexual behavior," "sexual fantasies," "hetero/gay lifestyle," and "self identification." The IRAP involved responding "True" or "False" to pictures of nude males and females as either attractive or unattractive. Participants were required to respond in a manner consistent with their reported sexual orientation for half of the IRAP's test blocks and inconsistent for the other half. Response latencies were recorded and analyzed. 

The IRAP revealed a non-orthogonal pattern of biases across the two groups and had an excellent ability to predict sexual orientation with areas under the curves of 1.0 for the relative bias score and .94 and .95 for the bias scores for the male and female pictures, respectively. Correlations between the IRAP and explicit measures of sexual orientation were consistently high. The findings support the IRAP as a potentially valuable tool in the study of sexual preferences.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, 5th Floor, Bermondsey Wing, Guy's Hospital Campus, London, SE1 9RT, UK.
  • 2Department of Experimental, Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.
  • 3School of Nursing & Human Sciences, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland. 
  •  2016 Mar 14.

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