Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Extrapolate at Will

Erotic Images Entice Even When Invisible

In an experiment, 40 men and women were shown erotic images that had been manipulated to bypass conscious detection. The participants consisted of both heterosexual and homosexual individuals.

Subjects were then shown a small "probe" pattern and asked to determine its orientation—clockwise or counterclockwise. The researchers found that subjects identified the probe pattern more accurately when it appeared where the erotic images had been, suggesting that the invisible images exerted an effect on their spatial attentions.

In general, the erotic images attracted or repelled attention depending on the gender of the nude model and also the sexual orientation of the subject. For example, heterosexual males tended to perform better on the pattern task when it followed the presentation of an invisible female nude than a male nude. Gay males, in contrast, showed more enhanced performance when exposed to invisible male nudes compared to female nudes.

"We didn't predict that," study team member Sheng He of the University of Minnesota told LiveScience. "We just wanted to see if invisible images can attract your attention or not."

For women, the results were more mixed. Heterosexual females performed better after exposure to invisible male nudes, but their performance didn't necessarily worsen when exposed to female nudes.

The performances of homosexual and bisexual females were somewhere in-between heterosexual male and heterosexual female groups.