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The Effects of False Positive and False Negative Physiological Feedback on Sexual Arousal: A Comparison of Women with or without Sexual Arousal Disorder

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Abstract

The effects of false positive and false negative physiological feedback (vaginal photoplethymograph response print-out) on women's sexual arousal were examined. Participants included women without sexual dysfunction (n=16) and women with Sexual Arousal Disorder (SAD; n=15). Measures of subjective sexual arousal, physiological sexual arousal (vaginal pulse amplitude), expectancies, affect, and anxiety were obtained in response to viewing an erotic film. Results indicated that false positive feedback significantly increased subjective levels of sexual arousal, whereas false negative feedback significantly decreased subjective levels of sexual arousal in both groups. Sexually functional women had overall higher expectancies for sexual arousal than women with SAD. Unexpectedly, false positive feedback did not significantly impact physiological sexual arousal in sexually functional women; however, it resulted in significantly decreased responses in physiological sexual arousal in women with SAD. False negative feedback had no significant effect on physiological sexual response in sexually functional women or women with SAD.

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Notes

  1. Given the significant difference in age between the two groups, all analyses were initially conducted with age added as a co-variate. Results were not substantially altered when age was accounted for; thus, the results presented in the article did not take age into account.

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Correspondence to Cindy M. Meston.

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McCall, K.M., Meston, C.M. The Effects of False Positive and False Negative Physiological Feedback on Sexual Arousal: A Comparison of Women with or without Sexual Arousal Disorder. Arch Sex Behav 36, 518–530 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-006-9140-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-006-9140-5

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