Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 191–201 | Cite as

Pupillometric assessment of arousal to sexual stimuli: Novelty effects or preference?

  • James C. Garrett
  • David W. Harrison
  • Patti L. Kelly


The pupillary response of male and female subjects to various sexual stimuli was examined. Change in pupil size was compared using light and dark control slides and nude male and female, heterosexual, and homosexual stimulus slides. Attempts were made to control for the many confounds inherent in pupillometric research. Pupil size was measured using video-recording techniques that magnified pupils to an easily measured size. Greater pupil change was found when the stimulus slide was preceded by a relatively lighter control slide. In addition, pupil change was related to familiarity with the stimulus slide and the relative pupil response changed as subjects gained experience with the stimulus material. Explanations and implications for further research are discussed.

Key words

pupil response pupillometry sexual preference sexual arousal habituation 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • James C. Garrett
    • 1
  • David W. Harrison
    • 2
  • Patti L. Kelly
    • 2
  1. 1.Veterans Administration Medical CenterAlbanyUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyVirginia Polytechnic Institute and State UniversityBlacksburgUSA

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