Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 539–552 | Cite as

Allocation of Attentional Resources During Habituation and Dishabituation of Male Sexual Arousal

  • Eric Koukounas
  • Ray Over


A secondary-task probe (tone) was presentedintermittently while men viewed erotic film segmentsacross a session involving 18 trials with the same filmsegment (habituation), then 2 trials with different film segments (novelty) and 2 trials withreinstatement of the original segment (dishabituation).Reaction time to the tone (an index of the extentprocessing resources were being committed to the erotic stimulus) shifted during the session inparallel with changes that occurred in penile tumescenceand subjective sexual arousal. The decrease in sexualarousal over the first 18 trials in the session was accompanied by a progressively faster reactionto the tone, novel stimulation led to recovery of sexualarousal and a slower reaction to the tone, and on trials21 and 22 sexual arousal and reaction time levels were above the values that prevailedimmediately prior to novel stimulation. Results arediscussed with reference to the relationship betweenhabituation and attention.



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© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric Koukounas
  • Ray Over

There are no affiliations available

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