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Lecture 3

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Psychology 2075
Jeremy Roth

September 26, 2012 Lecture 3—Theoretical Approaches to Understanding Human Sexuality Overview and Objectives - Theories are testable explanations concerning the causes and consequences of, in the present case, sexual behaviour. - Read textbook chapter 2 prior to your encounter with this “virtual lecture” - Textbook chapter 2 provides overviews of a number of theoretical accounts of the causes and consequences of sexual behavior. o Sociobiology o Psychoanalysis o Cognitive theory o Script theory o Others - This “virtual lecture” provides somewhat more depth concerning psychoanalysis and sociobiology, as well as research evidence related to confirming or disconfirming these theories. - This “virtual lecture” introduces the Sexual Behavior Sequence theory of the causes and consequences of sexual behavior, in some depth, and presents evidence that is relevant to confirming or disconfirming the assertions of this theory. Theories of Sexual Behavior –Understanding, Prediction, Control - Theory: An empirically testable explanation for sexual (or any other) phenomena. - Theories enable us to understand sexual behavior by providing an empirically testable account of the causes of such behavior . - Theories enable us to predict sexual behavior by providing an empirically testable account of the causes of such behavior behavior - If the causes occur, the sexual behavior will occur AB - Theories enable us to control sexual behavior by identifying potentially changeable causes of sexual behavior o If the causes are changed, the sexual behavior will be changed (“controlled”) - Theory in sexual science: o “Imports”—psychological theory from outside of sexual science has been “imported” and applied in the context of human sexuality. o “Indigenous”—psychological theory has been developed specifically as explanation for human sexual behavior, incorporating causes and consequences that are specifically appropriate to this behavioral context. Psychology of Sexual Behavior: Theoretical Approaches - “Imports”—psychological theory from outside of sexual science imported and tested in the context of human sexuality. - Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory of Development - Sexual and Aggressive Instincts o Id—seeks pleasure o Ego—seeks achievable pleasure o Superego—seeks moral pleasure o Creates intrapsychic unconscious conflict o Causes indirect satisfaction of sexual needs Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory - Psychosexual Development Proceeds in Stages o Oral, Anal, Phallic Stages o Oedipus Conflict  Boy loves mother, experiences castration anxiety  Identifies with father, becomes like father, seeks what father gets: adult heterosexual women o Electra Conflict  Girl loves mother, but experiences penis envy  Identifies with mother, becomes like mother, gets what mother gets: adult heterosexual men o “Mature Sexuality”  Heterosexual  Vaginal (shared) not clitoral (immature, masturbatory) orgasm - Psychoanalysis pathologized much sexuality o Erectile dysfunction caused by castration anxiety rather than organic problems o Clitoral orgasm caused by psychosexual immaturity - Attempts to treat these occurrences via psychoanalysis were often futile - Much of psychoanalysis is not empirically testable—causes are unconscious and may be unavailable for empirical theory testing Psychology of Sexual Behavior: “Indigenous” Theoretical Approaches - “Indigenous”—psychological theory developed specifically as explanation for human sexual behavior, incorporating causes and consequences appropriate to this behavioral context. - “Indigenous” theories include: o Sociobiological Theory of Sexual Behavior o The Sexual Behavior Sequence Sociobiology: Conceptualizing Male and Female Sexuality - Sociobiological - Evolutionary Psychological Theory of Human Sexual Behavior o Assumptions:  Characteristics that ensure genetic representation in future generations will be naturally selected.  Characteristics that ensure males’ and females’ genetic representation in future generations often differ and conflict - Sociobiological Approach to Sexual Behavior: o Parental Investment Theory  Theoretical Concepts: • Genetic Assurance: Degree of confidence that offspring belong to the individual • Commitment to Offspring: Degree of effort that is invested in bearing and raising offspring • Reproductive Potential: How many children can an individual bear? o According to Sociobiolgy and Evolutionary Psychology, Men’s and Women’s Optimal Reproductive Strategies Will Differ Dramatically  Reproductive strategies will differ for men and women because their genetic assurance, commitment to offspring, and reproductive potential differ vastly  For these reasons, men should be promiscuous, and women selective, in their mating choices Males Females Genetic Assurance Low High Commitment to Offspring Low High Reproductive Potential High Low Optimal Reproductive Promiscuit Selectivit Strategy y y  Research Relevant to Sociobiology Prediction that Men are Promiscuous and Women Selective • Opposite sex researcher approached random men and women on campus and said: “Hi. I’ve been noticing you around campus lately, and I find you very attractive. Would you go to bed with me?” Here are men’s and women’s responses to overture: o Males: 25% No, 75% Yes o Females: 100% No, 0% Yes o Assertions about Attractiveness  Attractive characteristics in mates • Males: Ability and inclination to provision (provide resources to) offspring o Resources o Physical fitness o Dominance • Females: Fertility and faithfulness - Evolutionary Psychology o Fertility related cues:  Permanent breast enlargement is a cue to fertility • Prepubescent breasts are not attractive because they signal infertility. • Reproductively mature woman’s breasts are attractive because they signal fertility. • Menopausal woman’s breasts are not attractive because they signal infertility o Concealed ovulation  Strengthens persistent pair bonding because fertile interval is not observable as it is in other primates which have externally visible signs of fertility o Critique  There likely are naturally selected sex differences in sexual behavior.  Natural selection is an enormously costly and time consuming way of adapting.  Human beings adapt very rapidly and at low cost to culture and circumstance via cognition, emotion, and learning Integrating Sociobiological and Social Psychological Approaches to Sexual Behavior - Evolved response tendencies affect individual psychological processes which are the immediate causes of sexual behavior Evidence Inconsistent with Purely Sociobiological Account of Sex Differences in Sexual Behavior - Research Shows Most Sex Differences in Sexual Behavior are Fairly Small o d” ranges from 0—no sex difference to 1—very large sex difference; .3 is moderate sex difference - Most sex differences in sexuality are diminishing rapidly across time: o size of “d” is declining across the years, indicating role of social learning in causing sex differences in sexual behavior The Sexual Behaviour Sequence: - Arousal, Affective, and Cognitive Determinants of Human Sexual Behavior o “Indigenous” Theory o Incorporates aspects of classical conditioning, operant conditioning, behavior modification o Unconditioned erotic stimuli lead to physiological sexual arousal without the benefit of any prior learning  Unconditioned erotic stimuliphysiological sexual arousal Unconditioned Erotic Stimuli Physiological Sexual Arousal Genital touch Pelvic vasocongestion Pheromones (smell) Directly assessable via penile and vaginal plethymospgraphy o Conditioned Erotic Stimuli Are Learned Cues that Cause Physiological Sexual Arousal Conditioned Erotic Stimuli Physiological Sexual Arousal Any stimulus repeatedly paired with Pelvic vasocongestion unconditioned erotic stimulus “Readiness”—some stimuli (e.g., red, Erection, vaginal lubrication black, leather) are more easily conditioned to sexual arousal than others o Physiological sexual arousal leads to preparatory sexual behavior: behaviors that increase the likelihood of sexual behavior o Preparatory sexual behaviour… o Sexual arousal preparatory sexual behaviour  Biased evaluation of potential partners Sexually aroused Sexually unaroused
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