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Pupillary Response as an Age-specific Measure of Sexual Interest

Attard-Johnson, Janice, Bindemann, Markus, Ó Ciardha, Caoilte (2016) Pupillary Response as an Age-specific Measure of Sexual Interest. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 45 (4). pp. 855-870. ISSN 0004-0002. E-ISSN 1573-2800. (doi:10.1007/s10508-015-0681-3) (KAR id:53149)


In the visual processing of sexual content, pupil dilation is an indicator of arousal that has been linked to observers’ sexual orientation. This study investigated whether this measure can be extended to determine age-specific sexual interest. In two experiments, the pupillary responses of heterosexual adults to images of males and females of different ages were related to self-reported sexual interest, sexual appeal to the stimuli, and a child molestation proclivity scale. In both experiments, the pupils of male observers dilated to photographs of women but not men, children or neutral stimuli. These pupillary responses corresponded with observer’s self-reported sexual interests and their sexual appeal ratings of the stimuli. Female observers showed pupil dilation to photographs of men and women but not children. In women, pupillary responses also correlated poorly with sexual appeal ratings of the stimuli. These experiments provide initial evidence that eye-tracking could be used as a measure of sex-specific interest in male observers, and as an age-specific index in male and female observers.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1007/s10508-015-0681-3
Uncontrolled keywords: Sexual interest; Eye-tracking; Pupillary response; Sexual appeal
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Markus Bindemann
Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2015 12:02 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2023 11:27 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Attard-Johnson, Janice.

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Bindemann, Markus.

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Ó Ciardha, Caoilte.

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