Physiological similarities and sexual assault statistics suggest a link between sexuality and aggression. With this project, the aim was to use a cognitive approach to understand and confirm this connection; specifically, the goal was to determine whether the relationship between these concepts is reflected in semantic networks in the brain. In order to determine the existence of these semantic relationships, a lexical decision task was formed using a list of words rated as highly related to aggression and a list of words rated as highly related to sexuality. If aggression and sexuality are semantically linked, we expect to find significantly shorter reaction times for sexual targets preceded by aggressive primes than for neutral primes, as well as shorter times for aggressive targets preceded by sexual primes than for neutral primes. Preliminary results suggest that aggressive words inhibit recognition of sexual targets and suggest a priming effect by sexual primes on aggressive targets.
Advisor(s) or Committee Chair
Dr.Lance W. Hahn
Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences
Kersey, Niki J., "Guns and Porn: A Look at the Semantic Effects of the Relationship Between Aggression and Sexuality" (2010). Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects. Paper 248.