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Volunteer Bias in Human Psychophysiological Sexual Arousal Research: To Whom Do Our Research Results Apply?

Joseph J. Plaud, George A. Gaither, Holly J. Hegstad, Leslie Rowan and Mary K. Devitt
The Journal of Sex Research
Vol. 36, No. 2 (May, 1999), pp. 171-179
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3813211
Page Count: 9
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Volunteer Bias in Human Psychophysiological Sexual Arousal Research: To Whom Do Our Research Results Apply?
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Abstract

The volunteer biases present in psychophysiological studies of sexual arousal were investigated in two geographically distinct sites. Four hundred eighty-five male and female undergraduates at the University of North Dakota and Oklahoma State University completed a packet of questionnaires which included demographics and personality- and sexuality-related measures. Participants were then given an opportunity to participate in a sexual arousal study, for which 74 individuals volunteered. Significant differences were found between males and females on sexual guilt, and between volunteers and nonvolunteers on four out of five measures. In addition, analyses of the reasons nonvolunteers provided for not participating suggest that the types of measurement and stimuli often influence what types of individuals volunteer for such research. These results have serious implications for the generalizability of such physiological arousal measures, and indicate a need for the development of less intrusive measures of sexual arousal if results are to be generalized beyond the samples studied.

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