Exposure to pornography, permissive and nonpermissive cues, and male aggression toward females (1983)

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September 1983, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 291–299

  • Kenneth E. Leonard
  • Stuart P. Taylor

DOI: 10.1007/BF00991679

Cite this article as:  Leonard, K.E. & Taylor, S.P. Motiv Emot (1983) 7: 291. doi:10.1007/BF00991679


The present study examined the role of permissive and nonpermissive cues in mediating the relationship between exposure to erotica and aggression. Male subjects viewed either neutral slides with a silent female or erotic slides with a female who made permissive, nonpermissive, or no comments about the slides. The males rated the slides and subsequently rated the female confederate. Male subjects were then given an opportunity to administer their choice of several intensities of shock to the female in a competitive reaction-time task. Subjects in the permissive cues condition rated the erotic slides as more arousing, saw the female as more reasonable and accepting, and selected more intense shocks for the female than did subjects in the other conditions. One explanation of these results is that permissive cues in the presence of erotica led the male to believe that other normally inappropriate behaviors would be tolerated.