Sex attracts: investigating individual differences in attentional bias to sexual stimuli
We investigated the impact of sexual stimuli and the influence of sexual motivation on the performance in a dot-probe task and a line-orientation task in a large sample of males and females. All pictures (neutral, erotic) were rated on the dimensions of valence, arousal, disgust, and sexual arousal. Additionally, questionnaires measuring sexual ... interest/desire/motivation were employed. The ratings of the sexual stimuli point to a successful picture selection because sexual arousal did not differ between the sexes. The stimuli were equally arousing for men and women. Higher scores in the employed questionnaires measuring sexual interest/desire/motivation led to higher sexual arousal ratings of the sex pictures. Attentional bias towards sex pictures was observed in both experimental tasks. The attentional biases measured by the dot-probe and the line-orientation task were moderately intercorrelated suggesting attentional bias as a possible marker for a sex-attention trait. Finally, only the sexual sensation seeking score correlated with the attentional biases of the two tasks. Future research is needed to increase the predictive power of these indirect measures of sexual interest.