Sexual Picture Processing Interferes with Decision-Making Under Ambiguity


Laier, Christian; Pawlikowski, Mirko; and Brand, Matthias


2014 in Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 43, pp. 473–482

  • This study emphasized that sexual arousal interfered with decision-making, which may explain why some individuals experience negative consequences in the context of cybersex use.
Many people watch sexually arousing material on the Internet in order to receive sexual arousal and gratification. When browsing for sexual stimuli, individuals have to make several decisions, all possibly leading to positive or negative consequences. Decision-making research has shown that decisions under ambiguity are influenced by consequences received following earlier decisions. Sexual arousal might interfere with the decision-making process and should therefore lead to disadvantageous decision-making in the long run.... READ FULL ABSTRACT
  • "Research showed that individuals react differentially to sexual cues, while some are more prone for sexual excitation. This was also reflected in our data, as shown in the moderated regression analysis. Those subjects who reported a high sexual arousal and who have to learn on the basis of the feedback that those alternatives,which are linked to pictures which promise gratification are the bad options, had clear reductions in their overall decision-making performance... In summary, the results supported the hypothesis that sexual picture processing leads to interference of sufficient processing of emotional feedback in ambiguous decision-making situations and may therefore explain why some individuals - in particular those who are sensitive to sexual gratification - make disadvantageous decisions in the context of their cybersex use."
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