Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
There are at least two types of response to stimuli: an automatic response that happens before conscious thought (a Type 1 response) and a deliberative, intentional response (a Type 2 response). These responses are related to behavior associated with the affective loading of the stimulus presented. Prior research has shown, for example, that a Type 1 tendency to spend more time looking at fear-provoking stimuli is associated with higher levels of general anxiety, while a Type 2 tendency to spend more time looking away from happy faces is associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms. Some stimuli categories elicit mixed responses, indicated by discrepant Type 1 and Type 2 responses. For example, alcoholics in recovery tend to look toward alcohol-themed pictures in the first 200 milliseconds, then look away. This suggests that alcoholics in recovery have an automatic draw to alcohol that is overridden by the conscious application of a cognitive schema to avoid alcohol. Sexual response studies to date have measured Type 1 and Type 2 responses separately; however, no study has yet measured both types of response within the same person. This study was the first to examine both Type 1 and Type 2 responses to erotic stimuli within the same individual as a test of within-individual variation of attentional responses to sexual stimuli. Results do not support a connection between either attentional bias or conflicting Type 1 and Type 2 responses and sexual desire or distress. Implications of these non-findings are discussed in theoretical and methodological contexts, and future research is suggested.
Number of Pages
Seehuus, Martin, "Discrepant Attentional Biases Toward Sexual Stimuli" (2015). Graduate College Dissertations and Theses. 416.