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Porn Boosts Sexist Attitudes, But Only Among Certain Men

Update Date: Sep 06, 2013 09:39 AM EDT
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Pornography increases sexist attitudes, but only among certain men.

New research reveals that exposure to pornography may increase sexist attitudes among a subgroup of heterosexual men.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen and University of California asked 200 Danish adults between the ages of 18 and 30 about their past pornography consumption. Researchers also assessed participants' personality traits.

Later, researchers exposed participants to hardcore pornography and evaluated how participants' personality and the exposure to pornography affected a variety of sexist attitudes.

Researchers found no link between past pornography consumption and sexist attitudes among women.  In contrast, increased past pornography consumption was found to be associated with more negative attitudes toward women including more hostility, negative prejudices and stereotypes.

When participants were actually exposed to pornography, personality was found to significantly influence the relationship between pornography and sexist attitudes.  However, an increase in sexist attitudes was only seen in participants low in agreeableness.

Exposure to pornography was also linked to a modest increase in hostile sexist attitudes among those low in agreeableness. Furthermore, increases in hostile sexist attitudes was also linked to increases in sexual arousal to the pornographic exposure material.

Researchers stressed that pornography exposure did not influence sexist attitudes in other participants.

"The study is important because it may help nuance the view of effects of porn and enable us to better understand for whom adverse effects of porn are most likely and the mechanisms by which such effects occur. This could be used in prevention, education, or clinical interventions," lead researcher Gert Martin Hald of the University of Copenhagen said in a news release.

"The study shows the importance of individual differences in research on pornography and underscores that effects of pornography on attitudes may not be the same for everyone," Hald added.

The findings are published in the Journal of Communication.

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