The effects of aggressive pornography on beliefs in rape myths: Individual differences (1985)

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Journal of Research in Personality

Volume 19, Issue 3, September 1985, Pages 299–320

Abstract

This experiment assessed the effects of media depictions that portray rape myths on men's beliefs in such myths. The study was conducted in two separate sessions. At the orientation session, measures of personality, motivation, experience, and aggressive tendencies were administered to 307 males.

In the experimental session, 145 of these men were first exposed to one of eight audiotaped versions of a passage. One of these portrayed the myth that rape results in the victim's sexual arousal. Later, subjects listened to a second passage depicting either nonconsenting or consenting sex. Their perceptions of the second portrayal and their beliefs in rape myths were then measured. The findings provided support for the hypothesis that media depictions suggesting that rape results in the victim's arousal can contribute to men's beliefs in a similar rape myth.

Moreover, analysis of the mediating role of individual differences indicated that men with relatively higher inclinations to aggress against women are particularly likely to be affected by media depictions of rape myths. It is suggested that these data may be explained best on the basis of information retrieval processes. In addition, it was found that power motives were consistently related to greater beliefs in rape myths.