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Pluralistic Ignorance and Hooking Up

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Abstract

Hooking up--when two people agree to engage in sexual behavior for which there is no future commitment--has become popular on college campuses. In this study we examined the extent to which pluralistic ignorance affects hooking up. One hundred thirty-six female and 128 male college students answered questions regarding their own comfort and their perceived peers comfort in engaging in a variety of sexual behaviors while hooking up. We hypothesized and found that both women and men rated their peers as being more comfortable engaging in these behaviors than they rated themselves. Men expressed more comfort than did women in engaging in these behaviors, and both sexes overestimated the other gender s comfort with hooking up behaviors. Pluralistic ignorance appears to apply to hooking up on college campuses, and we explore some potential consequences of pluralistic ignorance in this context.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Taylor & Francis Group)
Pluralistic Ignorance and Hooking up
Author(s): Tracy A. Lambert, Arnold S. Kahn, Kevin J. Apple
Source:
The Journal of Sex Research,
Vol. 40, No. 2 (May, 2003), pp. 129-133
Published by: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates (Taylor & Francis Group)
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3813749
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Pluralistic
Ignorance
and
Hooking
Up
Tracy
A.
Lambert,
Arnold
S.
Kahn,
and Kevin
J.
Apple
James
Madison
University
"Hooking
up
"-when
two
people
agree
to
engage
in
sexual behavior
for
which there is no
future
commitment-has
become
popular
on
college campuses.
In
this
study
we
examined
the
extent to which
pluralistic ignorance
affects hooking
up.
One hundred
thirty-six
female
and
128
male
college
students
answered
questions regarding
their own
comfort
and
their
perceived peers
'comfort
in
engaging
in a
variety of
sexual behaviors while
hooking
up.
We
hypothesized andfound
that both
women and men
rated their
peers
as
being
more
comfortable engaging
in these behaviors
than
they
rated themselves. Men
expressed
more
comfort
than
did women
in
engaging
in these
behaviors,
and both sexes overestimated the other
gender's
comfort
with
hooking
up
behaviors.
Pluralistic
ignorance appears
to
apply
to
hooking up
on
college
campuses,
and we
explore
some
potential
consequences
of pluralistic
ignorance
in
this
context.
Although
one-night
stands
and
uncommitted sexual
behaviors
are
not a recent
phenomenon,
past
research
has
focused
on
personality
traits,
attitudes,
and individual
dif-
ferences
in
willingness
to
engage
in such behaviors
(e.g.,
Gerrard,
1980;
Gerrard
&
Gibbons,
1982;
Simpson
&
Gangestad,
1991;
Snyder,
Simpson,
&
Gangestad,
1986).
The
tacit
assumption
in
this
past
research
was that
sexual
behaviors
within
a committed
and
loving relationship
were
unproblematic,
but
that
unloving,
uncommitted sexual
relations
had
to be
explained.
However,
today
on
college
campuses
across
the United States
what was once
viewed
as
problematic
has now become
normative,
and students
refer to this
process
as
"hooking up."
Hooking up
occurs
when two
people
who are
casual
acquaintances
or
who
have
just
met that
evening
at a bar
or
party
agree
to
engage
in
some
forms
of sexual behavior
for
which there
will
likely
be
no future
commitment
(Boswell
&
Spade,
1996;
Kahn
et
al., 2000;
Paul,
McManus,
&
Hayes,
2000).
The
couple
typically
does
not communicate
what sexual
behaviors
they
will or
will not
engage
in,
and
frequently
both
parties
have been
drinking
alcohol
(Kahn
et
al.,
2000;
Paul et
al.,
2000).
Paul
et
al.
(2000)
found that
78%
of
women and
men
on the
campus
being
studied
had
engaged
in
hooking up
at least once.
In the Kahn et
al.
(2000)
sample
of
college
students,
86%
of
the
women and
88%
of the
men indicated
they
had
hooked
up.
Almost one
half
(47%)
of the
men
and one
third of the
women
in
the
Paul et al.
sample
engaged
in
sexual
intercourse
during
the
hookup,
and
Kahn
et al.
found
that their
sample
believed
petting
below the
waist,
oral
sex,
and
sexual intercourse
occurred
with some
regularity
in the
process
of
hooking up.
Pluralistic
ignorance,
a
concept
first coined
by
Floyd
Allport
(1924,
1933),
exists
when,
within
a
group
of
indi-
Tracy
A. Lambert
is now at
the
University
of
Georgia.
This
paper
is based
on an honors
thesis
by
the first
author under
the direction
of the second
author. We
wish to thank
Steven
Wise for his statistical
assistance.
Address
correspondence
to
Arnold
S.
Kahn,
School
of
Psychology,
MSC
7401,
James Madison
University,
Harrisonburg,
VA
22807;
e-mail:
kahnas
@jmu.edu.
viduals,
each
person
believes his or her
private
attitudes,
beliefs,
or
judgments
are
discrepant
from the norm dis-
played
by
the
public
behavior of others.
Therefore,
each
group
member,
wishing
to be seen as a desirable member
of
the
group, publicly
conforms to the
norm,
each believ-
ing
he or she is the
only
one in
the
group experiencing
conflict between his or
her
private
attitude and his
or her
public
behavior.
Group
members believe
that most others
in their
group,
especially
those
who
are
popular
and
opin-
ion leaders
(Katz
&
Lazarsfeld,
1955),
actually
endorse
the
norm and want to behave
that
way,
while
they
them-
selves
privately
feel
they
are
going
along
with the norm
because of a desire to fit
in
with
the
group
and
exemplify
the norm
(Prentice
&
Miller, 1993,
1996).
In
this
study
we
examined
the extent to which
pluralistic
ignorance might
be related to U.S.
college
students' comfort
levels with
sexual
behaviors involved
in
hooking up.
Consistent
with
the
premise
of
pluralistic ignorance,
we
hypothesized
that
college
students would
perceive
others as
having
a
greater
comfort level
engaging
in a
variety
of sexual behaviors
than
they
themselves
would have.
Prentice and
Miller
(1993)
demonstrated
pluralistic
ignorance among
college
students
in
the area
of
alcohol
consumption.
On
a
campus
where
heavy
alcohol use was
the
perceived
norm,
Prentice
and Miller found that stu-
dents estimated both
the
average
student and their
friends
to have less discomfort
with
the
level of alcohol
consump-
tion
on
campus
than
they
reported
for themselves.
Furthermore,
for
male
but not female
students,
they
found
greater
consistency
between
respondents'
comfort levels
with
alcohol
consumption
and the
perceived
norm and
between
respondents' reported drinking
levels and the
per-
ceived
norm at the end of the semester
than at the
begin-
ning
of the semester.
Although
correlational
in
nature,
these
results
suggest
that over
time,
male students
may
have
changed
their attitudes and behaviors
to
bring
them
more
in
line
with the
perceived
norm.
Perkins and
Berkowitz
(1986)
reported
similar
findings
with
regard
to
the
discrepancy
between
college
students' own comfort
The
Journal
of
Sex
Research
Volume
40,
Number
2,
May
2003:
pp.
129-133
129
Pluralistic
Ignorance
and
Hooking Up
with the amount
of
drinking
at
the
university
and
what
they
estimated to
be the
general campus
attitude.
Although
pluralistic
ignorance
was
originally conceptu-
alized as
a
discrepancy
between
public
behavior and
pri-
vate beliefs
(Miller
&
McFarland,
1987),
others have
used
the
concept
to refer to situations
in which there is
not
direct
evidence of behavioral
similarity (e.g.,
Fields
&
Schuman, 1976;
O'Gorman
&
Garry,
1976).
More
recent-
ly,
Cohen and Shotland
(1996)
invoked the
concept
of
plu-
ralistic
ignorance
in
a
variety
of
dating
situations
for which
public
scrutiny
was absent.
They
found
that
both men
and
women believed that the
average
other
person
of their sex
had
more liberal sexual
expectations
than
they
set
for
themselves,
both sexes
believing
the
average
other
person
of their
sex would
expect
sexual intercourse much sooner
in
a
relationship
than
they
themselves would
expect
it.
When asked
whether
a same-sex
peer
would
expect
to
have sexual
intercourse
with a
person
with whom
they
were
emotionally
involved
but for whom
they
felt no
phys-
ical
attraction,
both men and women
believed the
average
man
and
woman
would
expect
sexual
intercourse,
while
only approximately
50%
of the
participants
would
expect
sex themselves
in
such a
relationship,
and an
even smaller
percentage reported having
had sex
in
such a
relationship.
Finally,
when
there was neither
emotional
nor
physical
attraction to a
partner,
few women or men
expected
that
they
would have sexual intercourse with the
partner,
but
believed
the
average
man and woman would
indeed
expect
sexual intercourse.
Pluralistic
ignorance might
have
consequences
when
beliefs about
the norm
condone intimate sexual
behaviors.
In
the
process
of
hooking
up, pluralistic ignorance
may
lead one
or both
sexual
partners
to
act
according
to the
per-
ceived norm rather than to their own
convictions. There is
a
large
literature
showing
that
men have
more
liberal atti-
tudes towards sexual behaviors and
expect
sexual inter-
course sooner
in
a
relationship
than
do women
(Cohen
&
Shotland, 1996;
Knox
&
Wilson, 1981;
Oliver
&
Hyde,
1993)
and
that
men are much
more
receptive
than are
women
to offers of
sexual intercourse
(Clark
&
Hatfield,
1989).
Byers
and
Lewis
(1988)
found
that
disagreements
among dating partners
on
the desired level of
sexual
behavior
was almost
always
in the
direction
of
the male
partner wanting
a
higher
level of sexual
intimacy
than that
desired
by
the
female
partner.
Thus,
it is
possible
that
many
men
go
into
hooking-up
situations
hoping
to
engage
in
more intimate
sexual behaviors than are
desired
by
their
female
partners.
Because men are
expected
to
initiate
sex-
ual
activity
(DeLamater,
1987;
Peplau
&
Gordon,
1985),
it
is
possible
that
in the
process
of
hooking
up,
some women
will
experience
unwanted
sexual advances and
possibly
even sexual assault
or
rape.
In
their research on
hooking
up,
Kahn et
al.
(2000)
asked 92 female and
50 male
college
students
if
they
had
ever had a
"really
terrible
hooking up
experience."
Nearly
one half
of the women
(42%)
and the men
(46%)
indicat-
ed
they
had had
such an
experience.
A
"terrible
experi-
ence"
for the men
was
usually
due to
the women
wanting
a
relationship
or to the use of too
much alcohol or
drugs;
none mentioned
pressure
to
go
further than
they
desired.
However,
nearly
one half
of
the
women
(48.3%)
who
reported
having
a terrible
hooking-up
experience
indicated
that
they
were
pressured
to
go
further than
they
had
want-
ed
to
go. They gave responses
such as
"I
hooked
up
with
a
guy
who didn't understand
the
meaning
of
'no"'
and
"I
didn't want to-he did-he wouldn't back
off."
These
women
may
have
experienced
sexual assault
during
a
hook
up
but did not label their
experiences
as
such
because
they
believed
the
behaviors
to be
normative.
In
addition,
10.3%
of the women
and
11.1% of the
men
in
this
sample
said the hook
up
was
terrible
because
they
had
gone
too
far
without
mentioning pressure
from
partner. Going
too
far
might
have been the
consequence
of
pluralistic ignorance,
conforming
to a
presumed
norm.
The
present study
sought
to
extend the
findings
of
Cohen and
Shotland
(1996),
which were restricted to
expectations
of sexual
intercourse
in
dating
situations,
to
the
area of
hooking up.
Further,
we
wanted to examine
whether
pluralistic ignorance
occurred with other sexual
behaviors
besides sexual intercourse.
Based
on
the
research
on
pluralistic
ignorance
and
gender
differences
in
expected
sexual
behaviors,
we
hypothesized
that both
male and female
students would
see
other
students as more
comfortable with various
hooking-up
behaviors
than
they
were
themselves.
Although
we
expected
individuals would
vary
in
their own
comfort levels with
various
hooking-up
behaviors,
we
expected
they
would
believe other students
to be
uniformly
more comfortable
engaging
in
those
behaviors than
they
were themselves.
Furthermore,
consis-
tent with
previous
literature,
we
hypothesized
that men
would be
significantly
more comfortable than women
with
engaging
in
all
hooking-up
behaviors.
Finally,
we
hypoth-
esized that due to
pluralistic
ignorance,
both women and
men would
overestimate the other
gender's
comfort
with
all
hooking-up
behaviors.
METHOD
Participants
One
hundred
seventy-five
female and
152 male under-
graduate
students from a
mid-sized residential
southeast-
ern
public
university
that has few nontraditional
students
served as
participants
for the
study.
The
convenience sam-
ple
represented
a
moderately
even
distribution
of
year
in
school:
for first
years,
n
=
79
(41
females,
38
males);
for
sophomores,
n
=
70
(37
females,
33
males);
for
juniors,
n
=
84
(45
females,
39
males);
and for
seniors,
n
=
93
(52
females,
41
males).
A
female
experimenter
approached
students as
they
entered
the
university library
and
asked
them to
volunteer to
answer
some
questions
about
hooking
up
and
sexual
behaviors as
part
of
her senior honors
pro-
ject.
She
approached
other
students in
their
residence halls.
No
differences
appeared
between
these two
samples
for
any
of the
dependent
measures.
Analyses concerning
plu-
130
Lambert,
Kahn,
and
Apple
ralistic
ignorance
and
comfort with
hooking up
are
based
on the
data from
136 women
(77.7%)
and
128
men
(84.2%)
who
indicated that
they
had hooked
up.
Materials and
Procedure
The
questionnaire
consisted of
questions
developed by
the
authors to
examine student
attitudes toward
hooking
up.
On the
first
page,
students read
that the
investigator
was
interested
in
"students'
attitudes and
behaviors with
regard
to
dating
and
'hooking
up',"
and
hooking up
was
defined
as "a
sexual encounter between two
people
who
may
or
may
not know each
other
well,
but
who
usually
are
not
seriously
dating." Participants
also
signed
an informed
consent
form,
which
indicated
all
information would be
anonymous
and confidential. To
insure
anonymity
and
encourage
honest
responding,
the
only
demographic
infor-
mation obtained was the
participants' year
in
school. We
made no
attempt
to determine sexual
orientation or
marital
status; however,
on this
residential
campus
the over-
whelming
majority
of students come to the
university
directly
from
high
school,
identify
themselves
as
hetero-
sexual,
and have never been married
(James
Madison
University
Office
of Institutional
Research,
2001-2002).
Participants
were told
they
were not
required
to
complete
the
survey
if
they
became
uncomfortable.
Students who said
they
had
hooked
up
were
instructed
to continue to the next
page.
We
constructed
11-point
scales
modeled
after those used
by
Prentice and Miller
(1993)
on
which
3
points
were labeled:
1
=
very uncomfortable,
6
=
neutral,
and
11
=
very
comfortable.
Participants responded
to
the
question
"How comfortable are
you
with the
amount of
hooking
up
that
goes
on
at
[school name]?"
They
then
responded
to
the
question
"How comfortable are
you
with
engaging
in the
following
activities
during
a hook
up?"
with
regard
to
"petting
above the
waist,"
"petting
below
the
waist,"
"oral
sex,"
and
"sexual intercourse."
Participants
used
the same scales
in
response
to
the
questions
"How comfort-
able
do
you
think the
average
female
student is with
the
amount
of
hooking up
that
goes
on at
[school
name]"
and
"How comfortable do
you
think
the
average female
student
is
with
engaging
in
the
following
activities
during
a hook
up?" Finally, they
responded
to
the
questions
"How com-
fortable
do
you
think the
average
male student is with the
amount
of
hooking
up
that
goes
on at
[school
name]"
and
"How
comfortable
do
you
think the
average
male
student
is
with
engaging
in
the
following
activities
during
a hook
up?"
Students who indicated that
they
had never hooked
up
were asked to
skip
to
a different
page
of
the
survey,
which
contained
questions
regarding why they
did not hook
up
and
whether or not
they
believed
that there
was
a
relationship
between
hooking up
and sexual assault. This
part
of
the
questionnaire
was included so that all
participants
would
work
on the
survey
for
approximately
the same amount of
time without
knowing
who
had or had
not hooked
up.
Participants completed
the
questionnaire privately,
usu-
ally
within a short distance
of
the researcher. Those
partic-
ipating
at the
library
placed
their
completed
questionnaires
in a
large
box,
and
those
participating
in
their
residence
hall
placed
completed
questionnaires
in
a
large
envelope.
When
they
were
finished,
participants
were
encouraged
to
ask
questions
and
discuss
the
questionnaire
with the
researcher,
who
provided
them
with
a
debriefing
statement
and a list of
campus
resources
for sexual
assault.
RESULTS
We
tested the
hypothesis
that
students
would
experience
pluralistic
ignorance
regarding
hooking
up
with a 2
(Gender)
X 2
(Target:
self or
other)
ANOVA,
with
target
as
a
within-subjects
variable. As
hypothesized,
participants
demonstrated
pluralistic
ignorance
by
evaluating
their
own
comfort level with
the
amount of
hooking up,
M
=
7.08,
SD
=
2.31,
significantly
lower than their
estimate of a
same-sex
peer's
comfort
level,
M
=
7.75,
SD
=
2.08,
F
(1,
262)
=
24.24,
p
<
.0001,
partial
1f2
=
.085.
Participants
believed that
other
college
students
were more
comfort-
able with
the amount of
hooking up
than
were
they.
This
main effect
of
target
was
qualified
by
a
significant
gender
by
target
interaction,
F
(1, 262)
=
7.55,
partial
rl2
=
.028,
p
<
.01. Both
men
and
women
showed the
same
pattern
of
overestimating
their
peers'
comfort
levels;
however,
the
pattern
was more
pronounced
among
the male
students
(9.01peer
vs.
7.95self),
t
(127)
=
4.68,
p
<
.0001,
d
=
.502,
than
among
the
female students
(6.57peer
vs.
6.26seIf),
t
(135)
=
1.85,p
<
.05,
one-tailed,
d=
.185.
Table
1
presents
these means and
standard
deviations.
A
dependent
t test
for
equality
of
variances
revealed
that
participants
showed
significantly
less
variability
in
their
ratings
of
peer
comfort level in
hooking
up
than in
their
self-ratings,
t
(262)
=
1.96,
p
<
.05,
one-tailed.
When
rating
their
own
comfort
levels,
the
standard
deviation
in
partici-
pants' responses
was 2.31.
However,
the
standard
deviation
significantly
decreased to
2.08 when
participants
estimated
their
peers'
comfort
with
hooking up.
This
decrease in vari-
ability
when
estimating
others'
comfort
provides
some evi-
dence
for
an
illusion of
universality.
That
is,
participants
showed
greater
uniformity
in
their
beliefs
about
others'
comfort
levels
compared
to their
own actual
comfort levels.
We
used multivariate
analysis
of
variance
(MANOVA)
to
examine the
hypothesis
regarding
men's and
women's own
comfort levels
with various
sexual
behaviors,
with
partici-
pant
gender
as the
between-subjects
variable.
Men
reported
significantly
greater
comfort with
these
behaviors than
did
women,
F
(4,
259)
=
35.17,
p
<
.0001,
partial
r12
= .352.
Table
2
shows that men's
greater
comfort
occurred with
all
four
hooking-up
behaviors.
Table
1.
Ratings
of Own
and
Average
Same-Sex
Student's
Comfort With
Hooking
Up
Measure
Self
Average
student
M
(SD)
M
(SD)
Women
6.26
(1.79)
6.57
(1.63)
Men
7.95
(2.48)
9.01
(1.74)
Note.
Ratings
were
made on
11-point
scales
(1
=
not
at
all
comfortable
and
11
=
very
comfortable).
131
Pluralistic
Ignorance
and
Hooking Up
Table
2.
Ratings
of
Men and
Women's
Own
Comfort With
Hooking-Up
Behaviors
Petting
above
the
waist
Petting
below
the waist
Oral sex
Sexual
intercourse
Men
M
(SD)
9.12
(2.47)
8.42
(2.60)
7.56
(3.05)
5.65
(3.57)
Women
M
(SD)
7.29
(2.68)
5.13
(2.73)
3.49
(2.63)
2.15
(2.31)
We tested the
hypothesis
that both men and women
would overestimate the other
gender's
comfort with
hook-
ing-up
behaviors
using
two
separate
MANOVAS.
The
first examined the men's estimates of the
average
woman's
comfort,
and the
second examined the
women's
estimates
of
the
average
man's comfort.
To
evaluate the
accuracy
of these
estimates,
the
comfort estimates were
compared
with the
means
of
the actual comfort
ratings
of these
hooking-up
behaviors.
Both the
men,
F
(4,
259)
=
7.82,
p
<
.0001,
partial
112
=
.108,
and
the
women,
F
(4,
259)
=
16.25,
p
<
.0001,
partial
112
=
.201,
significantly
overestimated the other
gender's
actual
comfort levels
with various
hooking-up
behaviors. As shown in
Table
3,
this overestimation occurred for
both sexes on each of the
four
hooking-up
behaviors.
DISCUSSION
Cohen and
Shotland
(1996)
found evidence of
pluralistic
ignorance regarding expectations
of sexual
intercourse on
a date. The current
research extended these
findings
to
other sexual
behaviors,
and
did so in
the context of
hook-
ing up.
We found that both
women
and men
reported
less
comfort with their
perceived
norm
of
hooking
up
than
they
believed was
experienced by
their
same-sex
peers,
with
men
showing
a
greater
difference between self- and
peer-
ratings
than women.
In
addition,
both
men
and women
believed
members of
the other
gender
experienced greater
comfort with
hooking-up
behaviors than
members of the
other
gender
actually
reported.
Men
were
less comfortable
with
engaging
in
hooking-up
behaviors than women
believed
them to
be,
and women were less
comfortable
with
engaging
in
hooking-up
behaviors than men
believed
them
to be. These
findings appear
to
be due to
pluralistic
ignorance: Hooking up
has become
the
norm
for hetero-
sexual sexual
relationships
on this
campus,
and since the
great majority
of
students
do in
fact hook
up,
it
appears
that most students believe that others are comfortable-
more comfortable
than
they
are themselves-with
engag-
ing
in a
variety
of uncommitted
sexual behaviors. It is like-
ly
that most
students believe others
engage
in
these hook-
ing-up
behaviors
primarily
because
they
enjoy doing
so,
while
they
see themselves
engaging
in
these behaviors
pri-
marily
due to
peer pressure.
Consistent with other
pluralistic ignorance
research
(e.g.,
Prentice &
Miller,
1993),
this
study
showed evidence
of an illusion of
universality.
The
students failed to
appre-
ciate the extent
to
which others have
different comfort lev-
els with
hooking-up
behaviors.
That
is,
students
wrongly
assumed
that the attitudes of
others about
hooking up
were
more
homogenous
than
they
actually
were.
Similar
to
other
researchers
(Cohen
&
Shotland,
1996;
Knox
&
Wilson,
1981;
Oliver
&
Hyde,
1993),
we
found
that men
expressed greater
comfort than did
women with
sexually
intimate
hooking-up
behaviors. In the
context of
hooking up,
this could lead to
serious
consequences.
Our
study
suggests
that men believe
women are
more com-
fortable
engaging
in
these
behaviors than
in
fact
they
are,
and also that
women believe other
women
are more com-
fortable
engaging
in
these
behaviors than
they
are
them-
selves. As a
consequence,
some men
may
pressure
women to
engage
in
intimate sexual
behaviors,
and some
women
may
engage
in
these
behaviors or resist
only
weakly
because
they
believe
they
are
unique
in
feeling
discomfort about
engaging
in
them. In this
context it is
possible
for a woman
to
experience
sexual
assault but not
interpret
the behavior as
such,
believing
it to be
norma-
tive
behavior with which her
peers
are
comfortable.
"Most
of
Us" is a
campaign implemented
on
many
col-
lege campuses
in
an
attempt
to
reveal
pluralistic
igno-
rance about
alcohol
consumption among
college
students
(DeJong
&
Langford,
2002;
Haines,
1998).
The
campaign
is
based
on
providing
students with
statistical evidence
about actual
student attitudes
and behaviors
regarding
alcohol
consumption.
The
goal
of the
campaign
is to show
that
pluralistic ignorance
exists
regarding college
stu-
dent's
heavy
alcohol
consumption,
and that
most students
prefer
to drink
less than
what is
commonly
perceived
to
be the
norm.
Considering
the results of
this
study,
we
pro-
pose
that a
similar
campaign
highlighting
students' beliefs
about and
comfort
levels with
sexual
behaviors while
hooking
up might
help
reduce
pluralistic
ignorance
about
hooking up.
Table 3. Differences Between
Each Gender's Own
Comfort Level With
Hooking-Up
Behaviors and
Estimates
of
the Other
Gender's Comfort
Levels
Petting
above the waist
Petting
below the waist
Oral sex
Sexual intercourse
Women's
estimate of men
M
(SD)
9.80
(1.45)
9.30
(1.67)
8.61
(1.93)
7.62
(2.24)
Men's
actual
comfort level
M
(SD)
9.12
(2.47)
8.42
(2.60)
7.56
(3.04)
5.65
(3.57)
Men's
estimate
of
women
M
(SD)
7.73
(1.92)
6.38
(2.07)
5.49
(2.19)
4.28
(2.36)
Women's actual
comfort level
M
(SD)
7.29
(2.68)
5.13
(2.73)
3.49
(2.62)
2.15
(2.31)
132
Lambert,
Kahn,
and
Apple
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133
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... Researchers have extensively assessed pluralistic ignorance of sexual behavior and related attitudes; however, we should note that the type of sexual attitude and behavior assessed varies. Research topics range from pluralistic ignorance of hooking up (Lambert et al., 2003) and cheating/concurrency Kenyon et al., 2015) to pluralistic ignorance of attitudes toward sexual violence (Dardis et al., 2016). Researchers have displayed continued interest in studying this topic from a pluralistic ignorance perspective, with publications dating from 1972 (Korte, 1972) to 2016 (Dardis et al., 2016;Wesche et al., 2016). ...
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Pluralistic ignorance occurs when group members mistakenly believe others’ cognitions and/or behaviors are systematically different from their own. More than 20 years have passed since the last review of pluralistic ignorance from a psychological framework, with more than 60 empirical articles assessing pluralistic ignorance published since then. Previous reviews took an almost entirely conceptual approach with minimal review of methodology, making existing reviews outdated and limited in the extent to which they can provide guidelines for researchers. The goal of this review is to evaluate and integrate the literature on pluralistic ignorance, clarify important conceptual issues, identify inconsistencies in the literature, and provide guidance for future research. We provide a comprehensive definition for the phenomenon, with a focus on its status as a group-level phenomenon. We highlight three areas of variation in particular in the current scoping review: variation in topics assessed, variation in measurement, and (especially) variation in methods for assessing the implications of individual-level misperceptions that, in aggregate, lead to pluralistic ignorance. By filling these gaps in the literature, we ultimately hope to motivate further analysis of the phenomenon.
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How can individuals' responses to the coronavirus disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic be used to inform constructive responses for climate action? We present an exploratory, mixed-methods investigation (N = 1784 US adults) into similarities and differences in individuals' reactions to COVID-19 and climate change in June 2020. Participants identified many similarities between the issues, indicating that both are harmful to public health, politically polarizing, have global impacts, and have solutions. Participants also perceived many differences between the two threats: many perceived COVID-19 as medical, natural, and on a shorter timescale, while many perceived climate change as environmental, human caused, and on a longer timescale. Emotional reactions to each topic predict topic-relevant behaviors, but more strongly, and with a broader range of emotional reactions, for climate change than COVID-19. Open-ended responses show that hope was elicited for both issues in response to contemplating taking collective and individual actions, and despair was elicited for both issues in response to perceiving that others do not take the issues seriously. Finally, participants perceived that they were engaging in relatively more COVID-19 mitigation behaviors and some climate change mitigation behaviors than others (i.e., the "better-than-average" effect). Many participants believed others were relatively unconcerned about both threats because of the invisibility of the threats, ignorance, and elite cues (e.g., then-President Trump downplaying the threat). Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10584-021-03143-8.
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While a great deal of psychological research has been conducted on sex-specific mate choice preferences, relatively little attention has been directed toward how heterosexual men and women solicit short-term sexual partners, and which acts are perceived to be the most effective. The present research relied on an act nomination methodology with the goal of determining which actions are used by men and women to solicit a short-term “hook-up” partner (study 1) and then determine which of these actions are perceived as most effective by men and women (study 2). Using sexual strategy theory, we hypothesized that actions that suggest sexual access would be nominated most often by women whereas actions that suggest a willingness to commit were expected to be nominated most often by men. Additionally, men and women were predicted to rate actions by men that suggest a willingness to commit as most effective and actions by women that suggest sexual access as most effective. The results were consistent with these hypotheses. These findings are discussed in the context of both short- and long-term mating strategies and mate solicitation. The relationship between motivation, sexual strategies, and sexual behavior are examined, along with the need for research on the hookup tactics and motivations of self-identifying gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals.
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Data on 334 university students in a random sample revealed how students meet, where they go, and what they do on dates. Sexual behaviors of these students also indicate that men expect more sexual intimacy sooner in a fewer number of dates than women. Influences/involvements by their parents in their dating relationships are also discussed. Most students feel positive about limited parental involvement.
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Pluralistic ignorance begins with a discrepancy between public actions and private sentiments, typically produced by widespread behavioral adherence to a social norm. Pluralistic ignorance is a pervasive feature of social life and is found to characterize the dynamics of social situations, social groups, and social movements. Group identification is the root cause for many cases of pluralistic ignorance—that individuals often act out of a desire to be good group members but interpret others' similarly motivated behavior as reflecting personal beliefs and opinions. This chapter presents two cases of pluralistic ignorance: (1) concerning the attitudes of college students toward alcohol use on campus and (2) concerning the gender stereotypes held by elementary school children. Mean responses of students in percentage are graphically represented in the chapter. Pluralistic ignorance describes the case in which virtually every member of a group or society privately rejects a belief, opinion, or practice, yet believes that virtually every other member privately accepts it. The term “pluralistic ignorance” is something of a misnomer, for in these cases, group members are not, in fact, ignorant of one another's private sentiments; rather, they think they know, but are mistaken.
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Social interactions at fraternities that undergraduate women identified as places where there is a high risk of rape are compared to those at fraternities identified as low risk as well as two local bars. Factors that contribute to rape are common on this campus; however, both men and women behaved differently in different settings. Implications of these findings are considered.
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We investigated 242 college students’ expectations about when sexual intercourse would first occur within different types of relationships. Participants reported their personal expectations, experiences, and beliefs about the sexual expectations of the “average woman” and “average man” in relationships with or without strong physical attraction and emotional involvement. Results show that, in general, men expect sexual intercourse after significantly fewer dates (approximately 9–11) than women do (approximately 15–18). In addition, expectations were related to actual experiences for women, but not men. Participants also tended to exhibit pluralistic ignorance about sex, believing in a norm for the average person of their gender that was considerably more permissive than were their own standards. The average man and woman were perceived as expecting sex earlier within a relationship and irrespective of physical attraction or emotional involvement. In contrast, most men and women only expected sex when they were attracted to a partner, although men were more likely than women to expect sex in the absence of emotional closeness. Implications of pluralistic ignorance and gender differences in sexual expectations are discussed.
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According to cultural stereotypes, men are more eager for sex than are women; women are more likely to set limits on such activity. In this paper, we review the work of theorists who have argued in favor of this proposition and review the interview and correlational data which support this contention. Finally, we report two experimental tests of ihis hypothesis. In these experiments, conducted in 1978 and 1982, male and female confederates of average attractiveness approached potential partners with one of three requests: "Would you go out tonight?" "Will you come over to my apartment?" or "Would you go to bed with me?" The great majority of men were willing to have a sexual liaison with the women who approached them. Women were not. Not one woman agreed to a sexual liaison. Many possible reasons for this marked gender difference were discussed. These studies were run in 1978 and 1982. It has since become important to track how the threat of AIDS is affecting men and women's willingness to date, come to an apartment, or to engage in casual sexual relations.
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This study focused on a specific risky practice common among contemporary college students: the hookup. Hookups are defined as a sexual encounter which may or may not include sexual intercourse, usually occurring on only one occasion between two people who are strangers or brief acquaintances. The aim of this study was to determine the relative importance of a variety of social and psychological predictors in understanding differences among undergraduate students who had never hooked up, those who had hooked up without sexual intercourse, and those who had hooked up with sexual intercourse. Analyses revealed that, as predicted, social, individual, and relational psychological variables helped to explain the variance among college students' varied hookup experiences. By examining the full range of sexual involvement characteristic of the casual sexual phenomenon of hooking up within a multivariate model, we were able to achieve a more differentiated understanding of college students' casual sexual experimentation.
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A collection of essays reinterpreting contemporary social organization in psychological terms. Harvard Book List (edited) 1938 #227 (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Examined the relationship between self-monitoring propensities and orientations toward sexual relations among 116 female and 139 male undergraduates, who completed the Self-Monitoring Scale, questions pertaining to previous and anticipated overt sexual behavior, and attitudinal indices regarding sex without commitment and casual sex. Factor analysis revealed that high self-monitoring Ss tended to establish an unrestricted orientation toward sexual relations (e.g., having sex with others to whom they were not necessarily psychologically close), whereas low self-monitoring Ss tended to establish a restricted orientation (e.g., they would have sex only with partners to whom they were psychologically close). At the behavioral level, high relative to low self-monitoring Ss indicated that they had a larger number of different sexual partners within the preceding year, could foresee themselves having sex with a larger number of different partners within the next 5 yrs, and were more likely to have engaged in sex with someone on only 1 occasion. At the attitudinal level, low compared to high self-monitoring Ss indicated that they would be more reluctant to have sex with someone to whom they were not committed and that they would be more uncomfortable with, and less likely to enjoy engaging in, casual sex with different partners. Possible explanations for these contrasting orientations are discussed. (45 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)