Effects on the "Average Individual": the Experimental Evidence

Part: 
Four
Chapter: 
3

In order to draw conclusions about whether exposure to pornography leads to or causes certain effects, one would have to look at the experimental evidence for these causal linkages.

The experimental results are presented in terms of effects in the areas of arousal, perceptions, affective states, attitudes, and behavior. Two categories of pornographic stimuli have generally been used to sort out differential effects in these areas: nonaggressive-pornography and aggressive pornography (see, for example, Malamuth and Donnerstein, 1984; Donnerstein, 1983). Some question may be raised about whether in fact these two categories are sufficiently representative of distinctions the average consumer or the public at large might make or whether these two categories afford reasonable conceptual value. Nevertheless, these categories provide a convenient way to organize the results from experimental studies.