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Men's and women's implicit sexual double standards: an application of sexual script theory

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Londo, Sarah
Thompson, Ashley
Sep 29, 2017
Although sexual encounters occurring with a non-committed partner are fairly common among young adults (Bisson & Levine, 2009; Puentes, Knox, & Zusman, 2008). research reveals a sexual double standard in attitudes toward CSRs, with women being judged more harshly than men (e.g., Crawford & Popp, 2003). However, recent studies have demonstrated inconsistencies in the sexual double standard, with some researchers suggesting that these findings are a byproduct of biased responding in survey paradigms used in sexual double standard research. As a result, researchers have encouraged innovative methodological procedures to assess the sexual double standard. Thus, the current thesis employed the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and a gender priming task to evaluate the endorsement of the sexual double standard among 138 U.S young adults (60 men, 78 women). Overall, results from the IAT revealed that participants endorsed a small implicit sexual double standard, as evidenced by their ability to more efficiently and accurately pair sexual images with pleasant words after receiving a men priming procedure as compared to a women priming procedure. In addition, gender differences in the endorsement of an implicit sexual double standard were revealed, with the gender prime influencing men participants to a greater extent than women participants. The current thesis has generated new information related to our understanding of the sexual double standard in today’s society and demonstrates the importance of incorporating the IAT (and other innovative measures). Several important implications stem from this thesis, particularly those related to the promotion of gender equality in sexual contexts.
A Thesis Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science in Psychology Cognitive & Affective Science
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