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The Open Psychology Journal, 2012, 5, 1-10 1 1874-3501/12 2012 Bentham Open Open Access Effects of Exposure to Pornography on Male Aggressive Behavioral Tendencies Dong-ouk Yang and Gahyun Youn * Deaprtment of Psychology, Chonnam National University, 300 Yongbong, Gwangju, 500-757 Korea Abstract: This study examined whether exposure to pornography lead to aggression, utilizing pornographic video excerpts and measuring participants’ aggression by the number of human faces chosen as targets during a dart-throwing decision task. Male college students ( n = 120) were randomly assigned into one of three experimental groups who viewed the sexually explicit material (nonviolent, sadomasochistic, or violent pornography) or to a control group who viewed nonsexual, nonviolent material. Each participant could then behave aggressively, or not, in a dart-throwing decision task offering pictures of human faces as possible targets. The facilitative effect of aggression was significant for all three groups exposed to pornography. The effect was especially conspicuous for those groups exposed to violent pornography. Keywords: Aggressive behavioral tendency, dart-throwing decision task, pornography, violent pornography. INTRODUCTION Researchers have conducted a considerable number of studies on the connection between exposure to sexually explicit material (i.e., pornography) and aggression. Previous research principally showed that exposure to pornography increased males’ aggressive behaviors and negative attitudes toward females [1-6]. Exposing males to violent porno- graphy that presented a woman victim as responsible for her victimization or as enjoying the assault produced demonstrably more significant effects than those produced by exposing males to nonviolent pornography. Exposure to such violent pornography also increased males’ acceptance of rape myths, sexual arousal in response to rape imagery, and aggression against women [7-11]. The U.S. Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography [12] concluded there was no evidence of a relationship between exposure to pornography and subsequent aggression, particularly in sexual crimes. Since the Commission revealed this conclusion, numerous experimental studies have investigated causal relationships between pornography exposure and aggressive behavior [4, 13-17]. Laboratory research has indicated exposure to sexually explicit material can facilitate aggressive behavior under certain conditions causing affective responses (e.g., anger). In those studies, two variables, anger arousal and sexual arousal, seemingly facilitated the aggression resulting from exposure to pornography. This research mainly aimed to discover whether exposing males to pornography generally affected their aggression and, more specifically, whether violent pornography affects males’ aggressive behaviors against women.
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Introduction to Learning and Behavior
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