Comm245Research-on-Pornography - 1 A BRIEF REVIEW OF...

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1 A B RIEF R EVIEW OF L ITERATURE ON E FFECTS OF P ORNOGRAPHY BY J ULIET D EE First, it is important to distinguish between the terms erotica and pornography. Erotica refers to explicit portrayals of sex between mutually consenting adults, and the majority of research on erotica does not indicate that its effects are harmful to viewers. Pornography , in contrast, refers to explicit portrayals of sex in which the man has power over the woman (or the child) and uses this power to inflict pain and humiliation on the person he is having sex with. In recent years feminists have become concerned that pornography may serve as a “catalyst” to incite real violence against women in real life. In a content analysis of 428 pornographic paperbacks, Don. G. Smith found that men raped or coerced women into unwanted sex in 33% of the episodes. He also found that depictions of rape doubled from 1968 to 1974, that 97% of the rapes were described as resulting in orgasm for the victim, and less than 3% of the rapists in the stories met with any negative consequences (Smith, 1976, 16-33). Another study has shown that the frequency of depicted violence against women increased every year over 5 years in Playboy and Penthouse , with a total of 10- The Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (Meese Report, 1986) reported: “The available evidence strongly supports the conclusion that substantial exposure to sexually violent materials…bears a causal relationship to antisocial and unlawful acts of sexual violence.” Some of this “available evidence” consists of several hundred laboratory studies by social psychologists, a few of which are consideredhere. In a study comparing rapists with non- rapists, Abel et al reported that whereas rapists in their sample showed high levels of arousal upon hearing audiotaped portrayals of both rape and consensual sex, non-rapists showed higher levels of arousal to the consenting sex depictions (Abel, 1977, 895-903). Abel et al used this data to develop the “rape index,” which was later shown by Quinsey et al to successfully predict
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2 recidivism following discharge from a psychiatric hospital (Quinsey et al, 1980,
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This note was uploaded on 11/08/2011 for the course COMM 245 taught by Professor Young during the Spring '08 term at University of Delaware.

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Comm245Research-on-Pornography - 1 A BRIEF REVIEW OF...

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