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Strawberry arouses forever? Effects of pre-information and real consumption of a common aphrodisiac on arousal ratings

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Abstract and Figures

It is a centuries-old issue whether and how various substances can have an aphrodisiacal effect. In scientific research, a lot of studies evidence that pre-knowledge and expectancies can explain aphrodisiacal effects more than actual ingredients. In this vein, we tested whether information regarding an aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal effect of a common aphrodisiac (i.e., strawberry) would have differential effects on arousal ratings for different pictures including erotic, neutral person, object and fruit pictures. There were no differences between the aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal information group for erotic, neutral, and object pictures. However, for strawberries, participants who were informed that strawberries have an aphrodisiacal effect (i.e., aphrodisiacal group) gave higher arousal ratings than participants who were informed that strawberries have an anti-aphrodisiacal effect (i.e., anti-aphrodisiacal grou). No group difference in arousal ratings were found for other fruits. As perceptual effects, familiarity, general priming, specific ingredients in strawberries, and higher arousal due to information contrary to common beliefs cannot explain the results, the effect is interpreted as a cognitive switch for one specific object and the respective information.
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December 3rd 7th, 2012
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Published by:
EDIS - Publishing Institution of the University of Zilina
Univerzitná 1
01026 Žilina
Slovak Republic
Editors:
Ing. Michal Mokryš, Ing. Anton Lieskovský, Ph.D.
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978-80-554-0606-0
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2173
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2012
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All published papers undergone single blind peer review.
Warning:
All rights reserved. Reproduction or publication of this material, even partial, is allowed only with the editor’s permission. Unauthorized duplication is a
violation of applicable laws.
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Strawberry arouses forever?
Effects of pre-information and real consumption
of a common aphrodisiac on arousal ratings
Christina Bermeitinger, Anna-Leena Feldkötter, Julia Hildebrand, Lydia Schmieder, Laila Sellner
Institute of Psychology
University of Hildesheim
Hildesheim, Germany
bermeitinger@uni-hildesheim.de
AbstractIt is a centuries-old issue whether and how various
substances can have an aphrodisiacal effect. In scientific
research, a lot of studies evidence that pre-knowledge and
expectancies can explain aphrodisiacal effects more than actual
ingredients. In this vein, we tested whether information
regarding an aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal effect of a
common aphrodisiac (i.e., strawberry) would have differential
effects on arousal ratings for different pictures including erotic,
neutral person, object and fruit pictures. There were no
differences between the aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal
information group for erotic, neutral, and object pictures.
However, for strawberries, participants who were informed that
strawberries have an aphrodisiacal effect (i.e., aphrodisiacal
group) gave higher arousal ratings than participants who were
informed that strawberries have an anti-aphrodisiacal effect (i.e.,
anti-aphrodisiacal group). No group difference in arousal ratings
was found for other fruits. As perceptual effects, familiarity,
general priming, specific ingredients in strawberries, and higher
arousal due to information contrary to common beliefs cannot
explain the results, the effect is interpreted as a cognitive switch
for one specific object and the respective information.
Keywords: pre-information; expectancy; aphrodisiac; arousal;
strawberry; picture rating; women
I. INTRODUCTION
There is a long lasting debate on the efficacy of substances
and foodstuffs as aphrodisiacs [1, 2, 3]. Aphrodisiacs are
means to increase sexual desire or performance. In this sense,
aphrodisiacs can be described as primes for later behavior and
feeling. Several substances are commonly known as
aphrodisiacs. However, scientific evidence for such effects is
rare [4, 5]. It is additionally discussed, why aphrodisiacs may
influence libido or sexual behavior. For example, do they act
due to their ingredients directly at the level of the central
nervous system or do they act via associations (color, shape
etc.) with genitalia or other body parts [6, 7]?
A. Expectancies
Recently, Friedman, McCarthy, Förster, and Denzler [8]
investigated the influence of expectancies on the efficacy of a
specific substance (i.e., alcohol) on sexual arousal in male
participants. Participants were confronted with suboptimal (i.e.,
unconscious) presentations of alcohol-related words or control
words. Thereafter, they had to either rate attractiveness or
intelligence of several photographs of young women. The
authors found (by trend) increased ratings of sexual
attractiveness when participants were exposed to alcohol-
related stimuli compared to control stimuli. In contrast, there
was no difference between exposure conditions (i.e., alcohol-
related stimuli vs. control stimuli) for intelligence ratings.
However, this pattern was true only for men who expected an
aphrodisiacal effect of alcohol. Stronger expectancies predicted
higher attractiveness ratings of the photographs after alcohol-
related stimuli.
Expectancies can be enduring and are able to influence
information processing, starting from perception to decision
making and behavior (see above, [8]). However, it is unclear
whether new information regarding the (non-)efficacy of
commonly known aphrodisiacs would influence subsequent
arousal judgments. This issue was the central question of our
study.
B. The Present Study
We tested females and informed have of them that new
evidence shows an anti-aphrodisiacal effects of strawberries.
The other group was informed that strawberries have an
aphrodisiacal effect, which typically reflects the common belief
regarding strawberries. After this, they had to eat some
strawberries. The coverstory for this and the preceding
information was that we wanted to test whether organic
products can be distinguished from conventional products.
Thereafter, participants had to rate arousal and valence of
several pictures, including non-sexual pictures with persons
(e.g., children with their grandfathers, some business people,
older persons on their bikes etc.), erotic/sexual pictures with
persons (men, women, and couples), fruit pictures (including
strawberries and several other fruits), and pictures of common
objects (e.g., candle, scissors, CD, marble). If short-term
information regarding the (anti-)aphrodisiacal effects of
substances is able to influence participants’ arousal level or
their expectancies of their arousal, we would expect higher
arousal ratings for females who are informed that strawberries
had an aphrodisiacal effect, especially for erotic/sexual
pictures.
SECTION
6. Psychology, Sociology and Pedagogy, Social Science
Advanced Research in Scientific Areas 2012
December, 3. - 7. 2012
INTERNATIONAL VIRTUAL CONFERENCE
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II. METHOD
A. Participants and Design
The sample consisted of 40 female students from the
University of Hildesheim. The median age was 21 years
(ranging from 19 to 43 years).
The factor information was varied between participants. 19
participants were assigned to the aphrodisiacal group. They
were informed that strawberries have an aphrodisiacal effect.
The remaining 21 participants were assigned to the anti-
aphrodisiacal group. They were informed that strawberries
have an inhibitory effect on sexual arousal. The factor picture
category (erotic / persons / fruits / objects) was varied within
participants. We additionally analyzed the difference between
strawberry and other fruit pictures. Arousal ratings served as
dependent variable.
B. Material and Procedure
Participants were recruited via emails in which they were
informed on the supposed aim of the study, that is, they were
told that we wanted to test whether it would be possible to
distinguish organic from conventional products and to what
extent this could depend on pre-knowledge on organic
products. After arrival, participants worked through several
questions regarding their attitudes on organic products,
regarding their menstrual cycle and their contraception. Then,
participants read a four-sided booklet including several articles
on organic products. One of these articles was entitled “Is(s)t
Aphrodite bio?” (Does Aphrodite eat organic things/Is
Aphrodite organic?). Therein, the manipulation was integrated.
Both groups got exactly the same text except of one word. The
translated text was: “Organic as well as conventional
strawberries have a strong cumulative/inhibitory effect on our
sexual arousal and our libido. A significant difference in sexual
excitability was found in women shortly after the consumption
of strawberries, in comparison to women who did not eat
strawberries. The substance Lamonol influences in this case
our sexual sensation.” To ensure that participants actually read
all articles attentively, they were told that a memory test would
follow at the end of the session.
Then, participants got a dish with several pairs of
strawberries. Each strawberry was labeled. Participants were
requested to decide for each pair of strawberries which
strawberry was organic and which strawberry was
conventional. Actually, all strawberries were conventional.
Thereafter, participants were told that they should take part
in another study with the aim to get new norms regarding
valence and arousal ratings for commonly used pictures of the
International Affective Picture System (IAPS [9]) and newly
chosen pictures. They were told that the results will be used for
future studies. Additionally, they were told that the rating was
completely independent to the other parts of the experiment
and introduced to extend the time span between information
(i.e., booklet reading) and memory test. In this rating part,
participants worked through two blocks. In the first block
participants, should rate the arousal of 120 pictures. In the
second block, participants should rate the same 120 pictures for
their valence. There were 40 pictures showing persons ranging
from childhood to old age in non-sexual situations. 40 further
pictures showed one or two persons in a sexual/erotic context.
20 pictures displayed different fruits one of them showed a
strawberry. 20 pictures showed various everyday objects.
Pictures were chosen either from the IAPS or were selected
from the internet. Order of pictures was chosen randomly by
the computer. Each picture was presented at the center of the
white screen.
The rating tasks roughly followed the Self Assessment
Manikin (SAM) rating scale for valence and arousal (Lang et
al., 2008). The five figures from the SAM scales were
presented and responses could be made on any of the five
figures or in between. This resulted in 9-point scales for both
arousal and valence. For the arousal dimension, the SAM
figures ranged from a wide-eyed, excited figure to a relaxed
figure. The endpoints of the scale were given the labels “not at
all exciting” on the left and “very exciting” on the right. For the
valence dimension, SAM ranged from a frowning, unhappy
figure to a smiling, happy figure. The endpoints of the scale
were given the labels “very negative” on the left and “very
positive” on the right.
Each trial started with a fixation cross (1000 ms).
Thereafter, the picture was presented for 500 ms. Then, the
SAM scale was presented until a response was given. The
border of the chosen button (either a SAM picture or a point in
between) changed its color for 350 ms. The next trial started
after an inter trial interval of 750 ms.
After the rating part, participants were requested to answer
several questions concerning the information given in the
booklet. This memory test was introduced to ensure that
participants read the relevant information and to maintain the
cover-story. At the end of the session, participants were
thanked and informed that they will get full information on the
aim of the study after the end of data collection. Then, they
were fully debriefed and informed on the results of the study.
III. RESULTS
A. Arousal Ratings
First, we conducted a 2 (group) x 4 (picture category)
analysis of variance (ANOVA) with group as between-subjects
variable, picture category as within-subjects variable, and
arousal ratings as dependent variable. The results showed a
main effect of picture category, F(3, 114) = 161.97, MSE =
0.93, p < 0.001, ηp² = 0.81. The highest arousal ratings were
found for erotic pictures (M = 6.02, SD = 1.31), followed by
person pictures (M = 3.71, SD = 1.34) and fruit pictures (M =
2.33, SD = 1.35), and the lowest arousal ratings were found for
object pictures (M = 1.62, SD = 0.65). Repeated contrasts
showed that arousal ratings for erotic pictures differed
significantly from arousal ratings for person pictures, F(1, 38)
= 100.33, MSE = 2.16, p < 0.001, ηp² = 0.73, arousal ratings for
person pictures differed significantly from arousal ratings for
fruit pictures, F(1, 38) = 39.02, MSE = 1.87, p < 0.001, ηp² =
0.51, and arousal ratings for fruit pictures differed significantly
from arousal ratings for object pictures, F(1, 38) = 20.11, MSE
= 1.05, p < 0.001, ηp² = 0.35. In contrast to our hypotheses,
there was neither a main effect of group, F(1, 38) < 1, p = 0.93,
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nor an interaction of group and picture category, F(3, 114) =
1.16, p = 0.33 (see also Figure 1).
Figure 1. Arousal ratings for erotic, person, fruit, and object pictures,
separately depicted for the aphrodisiacal and the anti-aphrodisiacal group.
Error bars represent the standard error of the means.
Second, we tested whether there was a difference between
arousal ratings for strawberries and other fruits and whether
this difference was still present in the aphrodisiacal group.
Thus, we conducted a 2 (group) x 2 (picture category:
strawberry vs. all other fruits) ANOVA. The results showed a
main effect of picture category, F(1, 38) = 10.39, MSE = 0.80,
p = 0.003, ηp² = 0.22. There were higher arousal ratings for
strawberries (M = 2.93, SD = 2.02) than for other fruits (M =
2.30, SD = 1.34). The main effect of group missed the criterion
for being significant, F(1, 38) = 2.10, MSE = 4.86, p = 0.16, ηp²
= 0.05. By trend, the aphrodisiacal group showed higher
arousal ratings than the anti-aphrodisiacal group. Most
interesting, there was a significant interaction of picture
category and group, F(1, 38) = 4.65, MSE = 0.80, p = .037, ηp²
= 0.11: Strawberries were rated higher in the aphrodisiacal
group than in the anti-aphrodisiacal group, t(38) = 1.85, p =
0.036 (one-tailed). There was no difference between groups in
the arousal ratings for other fruits, t(38) = 0.66, p = 0.25 (one-
tailed) (see also Figure 2).
Figure 2. Arousal ratings for strawberry and other fruit pictures, separately
depicted for the aphrodisiacal and the anti-aphrodisiacal group. Error bars
represent the standard error of the means.
B. Valence Ratings
The same analyses on valence ratings showed no main or
interaction effects with group (all ps > 0.20). There were
significant main effects of picture category (F(3, 114) = 70.85,
MSE = 0.39, p < 0.001, ηp² = 0.65, for person vs. erotic vs. fruit
vs. object pictures, and F(1, 38) = 19.50, MSE = 0.65, p <
0.001, ηp² = 0.34, for strawberries vs. all other fruits). The
highest positive valence ratings were found for person pictures
(M = 6.65, SD = 0.83), followed by erotic pictures (M = 6.03,
SD = 0.81) and fruit pictures (M = 5.64, SD = 0.81), and the
lowest valence ratings were found for object pictures (M =
4.67, SD = 0.65). Repeated contrasts showed that valence
ratings for person pictures differed significantly from valence
ratings for erotic pictures, F(1, 38) = 16.65, MSE = 0.94, p <
0.001, ηp² = 0.31, valence ratings for erotic pictures differed
significantly from valence ratings for fruit pictures, F(1, 38) =
5.47, MSE = 1.03, p = 0.03, ηp² = 0.13, and valence ratings for
fruit pictures differed significantly from valence ratings for
object pictures, F(1, 38) = 60.43, MSE = 0.64, p < 0.001, ηp² =
0.61. Further, strawberries (M = 6.40, SD = 1.43) were rated
more positive than other fruits (M = 5.60, SD = 0.81).
IV. DISCUSSION
It is a centuries-old issue whether and how various
substances can have an aphrodisiacal effect. In scientific
research, a lot of studies evidence that pre-knowledge and
expectancies can explain aphrodisiacal effects more than actual
ingredients. In this vein, we tested whether information
regarding an aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal effect of a
common aphrodisiac (i.e., strawberry) would have differential
effects on arousal ratings for different pictures including erotic,
neutral person, object and fruit pictures. There were no
differences between the aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal
information group for erotic, neutral, and object pictures.
However, for strawberries, participants who were informed that
strawberries have an aphrodisiacal effect (i.e., aphrodisiacal
group) gave higher arousal ratings than participants who were
informed that strawberries have an anti-aphrodisiacal effect
(i.e., anti-aphrodisiacal grou). No group difference in arousal
ratings were found for other fruits.
First of all, there was no general increase of arousal ratings
and no specific increase of arousal ratings for erotic or sexual
pictures after information that strawberries have aphrodisiacal
effects (compared to information that strawberries have anti-
aphrodisiacal effects). That is, information regarding the (anti-
)aphrodisiacal effect of a substance commonly known as
aphrodisiac (and the following consumption of this substance)
has no influence on general arousal ratings. This finding fits in
general very well with findings from Chivers and colleagues
[10, 11, 12]. These authors showed that sexual arousal in men
is category-specific, that is, heterosexual men are aroused by
female and homosexual men are aroused by male sexual
stimuli. The assessment of genital and subjective arousal
showed that women reacted nonspecifically to sexual stimuli in
that they showed genital and subjective arousal (not sexual
desire) irrespective of category (female or male stimuli) and
irrespective of their own sexual orientation. Based on these
findings, it was rather likely that women would rate sexual
pictures as arousing irrespective of the specific content.
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Further, we could show that pre-information about so to
speak their own sexual arousal did not influence the general
high arousal ratings of sexual pictures.
However, arousal ratings for strawberries differed between
groups. There were higher arousal ratings in the aphrodisiacal
than the anti-aphrodisiacal group. There are a couple of
possible explanations of this effect which can be excluded.
First, the effect cannot be explained by specific shape or visual
nature of strawberries. If the effect of higher arousal for
strawberries is simply due to perceptual reasons, higher arousal
ratings for strawberries compared to other fruits will be
expected in the anti-aphrodisiacal group as well. This was not
the case. Second, explanations due to differences in familiarity
or simple priming can be excluded as both groups were
confronted with the same amount of information and the same
amount of strawberries. The only difference was in the specific
information regarding the effect of strawberries. Third, the
effect can be explained by ingredients. Both groups got the
same amount on strawberries (which was definitely too little
for a physiological effect). Fourth, the effect cannot be the
result of felt arousal/dissonance or deeper processing resulting
from information which is contrary to pre-information or
expectancy. Novel information contrary to common knowledge
should result in deeper processing and higher arousal for the
specific object which is affected by the new information. If
higher arousal based on dissonance or deeper processing is
responsible for differences in arousal ratings of the specific
object, higher arousal ratings would occur in the anti-
aphrodisiacal group in which novel information was given.
That is, the effect found seems to be a rather specific effect
not based on the pure confrontation with the object that is later
used as the target object (which has to be rated). In turn, the
effect seems to be based on a cognitive switch regarding the
effect of a single fruit. However, the question whether we deal
with a coupling of stimuli and specific information
(aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal effect) or whether there is
a bodily mediation is open to future research. As we did not
test control subjects who get neutral information regarding the
effect of strawberries and/or get no strawberries to eat, it is
unclear whether the found effect is the result of an increase in
arousal (ratings) in the aphrodisiacal group or a decrease in
arousal (ratings) in the anti-aphrodisiacal group or both.
Taken together, we showed evidence that information on
the (anti-)aphrodisiacal effect of a commonly known
aphrodisiac (i.e., strawberry) is not able to influence arousal
ratings in general and specifically for erotic/sexual pictures.
That is, information regarding a specific aphrodisiac and its
effect (aphrodisiacal or anti-aphrodisiacal) has no differential
aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal effects in arousal ratings of
sexual/erotic picutres. However, strawberries were rated as
more arousing after the information that strawberries have
aphrodisiacal effects compared to the information that
strawberries have anti-aphrodisiacal effects. This result seems
to be based on a cognitive switch specifically for the object
(strawberry) and the information given before the rating
(aphrodisiacal vs. anti-aphrodisiacal effect).
REFERENCES
[1] J. Bates, “Genetics,” The Journal of Materia Medica, vol. VI, 1-14, 1867
[2] P. Sandroni, “Aphrodisiacs past and present: A historical review,”
Clinical Autonomic Research, vol. 11, 303-307, 2001.
[3] D. K. Patel, R. Kumar, S. K. Prasad, and S. Hemalatha,
“Pharmacologically screened aphrodisiac plant: A review of current
scientific literature,” Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, vol.
1, S131-S138, 2011.
[4] J. P. Melnyk, and M. F. Marcone, “Aphrodisiacs from plant and animal
sources: A review of current scientific literature,” Food Research
International, vol. 44, 840-850, 2011.
[5] R. Shamloul, “Natural aphrodisiacs,” The Journal of Sexual Medicine,
vol. 7, 39-49, 2010.
[6] C. V. da Silva, F. M. Borges, and E. S. Velozo, “Phytochemistry of
some Brazilian plants with aphrodisiac activity,” in Phytochemicals: A
global perspective of their role in nutrition and health, V. Rao. Rijeka:
InTech, 2012, pp. 307-326.
[7] R. Slovenko, “Aphrodisiacs: Then and now,” The Journal of Psychiatry
& Law, vol. 29, 103-116, 2001.
[8] R. S. Friedman, D. M. McCarthy, D. M., J. Förster, and M. Denzler, M.,
“Automatic effects of alcohol cues on sexual attraction,” Addiction, vol.
100, 672-681, 2005.
[9] P. J. Lang, M. M. Bradley, and B. N. Cuthbert, “International affective
picture system (IAPS): Affective ratings of pictures and instruction
manual,” University of Florida, Gainesville, FL: Technical Report A-8,
2008.
[10] M. L. Chivers, G. Rieger, E. Latty, and J. M. Bailey, “A sex difference
in the specificity of sexual arousal,” Psychological Science, vol. 15, 736-
744, 2005.
[11] M. L. Chivers, M. C. Seto, M. L. Lalumière, and T. Grimbos,
“Agreement of genital and subjective measures of sexual arousal in men
and women: A meta-analysis,” Archives of Sexual Behavior, vol. 39, 5-
56, 2010.
[12] M. L. Chivers, “A brief update on the specificity of sexual arousal,”
Sexual and Relationship Therapy, vol. 25, 407-414, 2010.
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Published by:
EDIS - Publishing Institution of the University of Zilina
Univerzitná 1
01026 Žilina
Slovak Republic
Editors:
Ing. Michal Mokryš, Ing. Anton Lieskovský, Ph.D.
ISBN:
978-80-554-0606-0
ISSN:
1338-9831
Pages:
2173
Printed in:
650 copies
Publication year:
2012
Other:
All published papers undergone single blind peer review.
Warning:
All rights reserved. Reproduction or publication of this material, even partial, is allowed only with the editor’s permission. Unauthorized duplication is a
violation of applicable laws.
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Proceedings in Advanced Research in Scientific Areas
The 1st Virtual International Conference
December 3rd 7th, 2012
Slovak Republic
ISBN 978-80-554-0606-0
ISSN 1338-9831
... In a global sense, a lot of phenomena can be understood as priming: the effects of subliminal advertising Bermeitinger, & Unger, 2013), effects of aphrodisiacs (e.g., Bermeitinger, Feldkötter, Hildebrand, Schmieder, & Sellner, 2012), anchoring effects (e.g., Bermeitinger, & Unger, 2014; for review see e.g., Furnham, & Boo, 2011), framing effects (e.g., Levin, Schneider, & Gaeth, 1998), contrast effects (e.g., Major, 2008), mood inductions (e.g., Bermeitinger, & Unger, 2014, Exp. 3;Gerrards-Hesse, Spies, & Hesse, 1994), conditioning (e.g., Skinner, 1953), mere exposure effects (e.g., Zajonc, 1968), effects in task switching tasks (e.g., Waszak, Hommel, & Allport, 2003), embodiment related variations of bodily positions or states and there influence on emotions, actions, concept activations or thinking patterns (e.g., Bermeitinger, Koch, & Wilborn, 2011;Niedenthal, 2007; see also Bermeitinger, & Kiefer, 2012), activations of stereotypes (e.g., Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996), or findings in memory studies varying the context (e.g., the testing room) between learning and recognition phase (e.g., Godden, & Baddeley, 1975). ...
... Implicit sequence learning experiments can be interpreted as priming experiments, too. In implicit sequence learning experiments (e.g., Bermeitinger, Feldkötter et al., 2012), participants usually perform a rather simple task, for example, to classify four different letters by pressing the corresponding key. Unbeknown to the participants, stimuli are arranged in a repeating sequence. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter is about the wide variety of priming encountered in cognitive and social psychology. In cognitive psychology, the priming paradigm is mainly used to study memory phenomena or the pre-activation of concepts and motor reactions by related stimuli. In social psychology, the term priming is used for a broader range of phenomena in which an event triggers a subsequent behavior. In this chapter, some definitions of priming and the origin of the term's use in psychology are presented. Then, the chapter examines different types and variants of priming as well as their features and principal elements, using seven organizing principles. After this methodical and empirical classification, some important theories of response priming, semantic priming, affective/evaluative priming, negative priming, and macro-level priming are summarized. Last but not least, some general questions and problems in priming research are outlined and a brief outlook is given.
... In a global sense, a lot of phenomena can be understood as priming: the effects of subliminal advertising Bermeitinger, & Unger, 2013), effects of aphrodisiacs (e.g., Bermeitinger, Feldkötter, Hildebrand, Schmieder, & Sellner, 2012), anchoring effects (e.g., Bermeitinger, & Unger, 2014; for review see e.g., Furnham, & Boo, 2011), framing effects (e.g., Levin, Schneider, & Gaeth, 1998), contrast effects (e.g., Major, 2008), mood inductions (e.g., Bermeitinger, & Unger, 2014, Exp. 3;Gerrards-Hesse, Spies, & Hesse, 1994), conditioning (e.g., Skinner, 1953), mere exposure effects (e.g., Zajonc, 1968), effects in task switching tasks (e.g., Waszak, Hommel, & Allport, 2003), embodiment related variations of bodily positions or states and there influence on emotions, actions, concept activations or thinking patterns (e.g., Bermeitinger, Koch, & Wilborn, 2011;Niedenthal, 2007; see also Bermeitinger, & Kiefer, 2012), activations of stereotypes (e.g., Bargh, Chen, & Burrows, 1996), or findings in memory studies varying the context (e.g., the testing room) between learning and recognition phase (e.g., Godden, & Baddeley, 1975). ...
... Implicit sequence learning experiments can be interpreted as priming experiments, too. In implicit sequence learning experiments (e.g., Bermeitinger, Feldkötter et al., 2012), participants usually perform a rather simple task, for example, to classify four different letters by pressing the corresponding key. Unbeknown to the participants, stimuli are arranged in a repeating sequence. ...
Book
Full-text available
The cognition activities of humans are an integration of conscious and unconscious processes. The existence, universality and effectiveness of implicit cognition indicate that the cognitive process can be classified into explicit cognition and implicit cognition systems. They comprise two types of information processing systems with different natures, which are relatively independent of each other in terms of structure and function. According to their roles in the cognitive process, explicit cognition is the basic cognitive approach, while implicit cognition is a necessary and independent source of cognition. These two cognition systems interact synergistically and can be transformed into each other under certain conditions. They work together to help humans understand the world. Research into implicit cognition has expanded our exploration of human cognition activities to a much larger scope of the cognition process, which is beyond consciousness control, cannot be expressed in language, and exists in a hidden process. This research area has long been neglected by psychology and epistemology. Such neglect is directly related to the fact that implicit cognition itself is difficult to control consciously or express in language; it is also partially attributed to the level of knowledge and research means available in the past. This forgotten corner has recently begun to draw much attention because many difficulties and challenges encountered in the developmental process of cognitive science are rooted in the implicit cognition domain. The collective efforts of philosophy, psychology and other disciplines are thus urgently needed. Cognitive psychology is closely related to epistemology. Both of these disciplines concern the spiritual world and the human cognitive realm, differing only in their research methods and levels of expression. The exploration of the underlying mechanism of implicit cognition was inspired by a series of important changes in cognitive theories in recent years. These types of changes have deepened our understanding about the basic characteristics of the internal information of cognitive subjects and greatly expanded our knowledge regarding the nature and concept of information processing. It offers new explanatory approaches for many previous theories that resided on the experience description level as well as for many confusing experimental phenomena. Discussions about implicit cognition have increased markedly in the past two decades. A large number of publications have also appeared, from the most famous methodology in the implicit social cognition field, Implicit Association Test (IAT), to “Psychology of Science: Implicit and Explicit Processes”, edited by Proctor and Capaldi, and then to the later “Handbook of Implicit Social Cognition”, edited by Gawronski and Payne. However, arguments about the theories, methods and techniques of implicit cognition have never ceased. For example, oppugners of the social priming effect even subverted the “scientificity” of psychology (e.g., Kahneman, 2012; Doyen et al., 2012; Yong, 2012) and questioning the implicit components has also become a research focus in recent years (e.g., Conrey et al., 2005; Sherman, 2006). This is acceptable if one simply considers this book to be a supplement to the research field of implicit cognition. Our efforts are directed towards understanding those thinking processes that have been excluded by the conscious mind and by the research field for some time. After all, we have always believed that at least a part of unconscious information processing is carried on silently in the human thinking process without interference. More importantly, this book offers a new approach to the research on implicit cognition: as mentioned above, the exploration of implicit cognition urgently needs the collective efforts of psychology and other disciplines. One such effort is to comprehensively consider the common problems involved in different disciplines, which is actually the basic method of cognitive science. In fact, the development of cognitive science metalogic and the long-term accumulation of experimental materials in the past provide a theoretical and experimental basis for such efforts.
Article
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Substances which are used to treat sexual dysfunction or to improve sexual behavior and satisfaction in humans and animals are called “aphrodisiac”. Uses of plant material to treat sexual disorder is a long back history in the different system of medicine and it was practiced by different type of vaidyas and traditional healer in almost all the countries in the world, like China, India, Egypt, Rome and Greek. Even though there was an unavailability of the scientific data, these substances have been used as aphrodisiac. During the historic times Lytta vesicatoria, Tribulus terrestris, Ptychopetalum olacoides, Crocus sativus, Bufo marinus, Myristica fragrans, Theobroma cocao and other plants have been investigated for its aphrodisiac activity by in vivo and in vitro model. Even though the study showed positive response to a particular substance, there is always a need to run the clinical trial before administering the tested drug in human being. The present review article summarizes the plant material which has been tested for its aphrodisiac activity in different experimental model (in vitro, in vivo on animal models, or in human clinical trials) and comply its claim in the different system of medicine. A brief overview about the data of percentage study in the last eighteen years duration on aphrodisiac activity of plant material was done on the basis of the CAB abstract database.
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In this article I review research on specificity of sexual arousal conducted since 2005. Three lines of investigation – sexual psychophysiology, visual attention and brain response – demonstrate convergence; women's response is non-specific whereas men's is specific to preferred sexual stimuli. The implications of these findings, with respect to the nature of sexual features that elicit genital response in women, the relationship between sexual orientation and sexual arousal and the role of genital-subjective concordance in women's sexual functioning, are discussed.
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The assessment of sexual arousal in men and women informs theoretical studies of human sexuality and provides a method to assess and evaluate the treatment of sexual dysfunctions and paraphilias. Understanding measures of arousal is, therefore, paramount to further theoretical and practical advances in the study of human sexuality. In this meta-analysis, we review research to quantify the extent of agreement between self-reported and genital measures of sexual arousal, to determine if there is a gender difference in this agreement, and to identify theoretical and methodological moderators of subjective-genital agreement. We identified 132 peer- or academically-reviewed laboratory studies published between 1969 and 2007 reporting a correlation between self-reported and genital measures of sexual arousal, with total sample sizes of 2,505 women and 1,918 men. There was a statistically significant gender difference in the agreement between self-reported and genital measures, with men (r = .66) showing a greater degree of agreement than women (r = .26). Two methodological moderators of the gender difference in subjective-genital agreement were identified: stimulus variability and timing of the assessment of self-reported sexual arousal. The results have implications for assessment of sexual arousal, the nature of gender differences in sexual arousal, and models of sexual response.
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The drug Viagra (sildenafil) has drawn public attention to aphrodisiacs. The search for such substances dates back millennia. Aphrodisiacs can be classified by their mode of action into 3 types: those that increase (1) libido, (2) potency, or (3) sexual pleasure. Various substances of animal and plant origin have been used in folk medicines of different cultures; some have been identified pharmacologically, allowing for understanding of their mechanisms of action. For increasing libido, ambrein, a major constituent of Ambra grisea, is used in Arab countries. This tricyclic triterpene alcohol increases the concentration of several anterior pituitary hormones and serum testosterone. Bufo toad skin and glands contain bufotenine (and other bufadienolides), a putative hallucinogenic congener of serotonin. It is the active ingredient in West Indian "love stone" and the Chinese medication chan su. The aphrodisiac properties are likely of central origin, as are the other effects of the drug. For increasing potency, Panax ginseng used in traditional Chinese medicine, works as an antioxidant by enhancing nitric oxide synthesis in the endothelium of many organs, including the corpora cavernosa; ginsenosides also enhance acetylcholine-induced and transmural nerve stimulation-activated relaxation associated with increased tissue cyclic guanosine monophosphate, hence the aphrodisiac properties. For increasing sexual pleasure, cantharidin ("Spanish fly") is a chemical with vesicant properties derived from blister beetles, which have been used for millennia as a sexual stimulant. Its mode of action is by inhibition of phosphodiesterase and protein phosphatase activity and stimulation of beta-receptors, inducing vascular congestion and inflammation. Morbidity from its abuse is significant. The ingestion of live beetles (Palembus dermestoides) in Southeast Asia and triatomids in Mexico may have a basis similar to cantharidin. It is of paramount importance for the physician to be aware of the options available to help his or her patients, and to advise them in using the correct drugs while avoiding "miracle" remedies that could be potentially harmful.
Article
The use of aphrodisiacs dates back thousands of years in Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, Roman, and Greek cultures. Although the scientific basis of these substances was not understood, aphrodisiacs were valued for their ability to enhance the sexual experience. Their use allowed for human procreation and the ability to obtain a sexually fulfilling relationship. Aphrodisiacs used historically include ambrein, Bufo toad, Spanish fly, yohimbine, Tribulus terrestris, horny goat weed, muira puama, MACA root, Panax ginseng, nutmeg, saffron, and cacao. Previous studies on these substances have shown potential aphrodisiac properties using animal models and in human clinical trials. Aphrodisiacs were shown to relax corpus cavernosum smooth muscle tissue in animals, improve erection quality in humans and animals, or increase sexual behavior and satisfaction in humans and animals. Although most studies showed positive effects of aphrodisiacs on sexual enhancement, more studies are needed to understand their mechanism of action. The need for clinical trials using larger populations is also evident to prove the effectiveness of aphrodisiacs for human use. This paper will review recent scientific studies conducted on these commonly used aphrodisiacs, and determine whether the results support or refute their use for human sexual enhancement.
Article
The search for a remedy or a prescription that can enhance sexual function and/or treat male erectile dysfunction has been an obsession throughout known history. Whether it was an Eastern civilization or a Western one, religious or atheist, man's aspiration for a better or best "manhood" has been a history-time goal. This review will discuss the current research done on the most popular natural aphrodisiacs and examine the weight of evidence to support or discourage the use of any of these substances to enhance sexual desire and/or function. Review of the current evidence on the use of natural substances as aphrodisiacs. Efficacy of natural aphrodisiacs in enhancing sexual function in men and women. There is little evidence from literature to recommend the usage of natural aphrodisiacs for the enhancement of sexual desire and/or performance. Data on yohimbine's efficacy does not support the wide use of the drug, which has only mild effects in the treatment of psychogenic ED. Although there's a positive trend towards recommending ginseng as an effective aphrodisiac, however, more in depth studies involving large number of subjects and its mechanism of action are needed before definite conclusions could be reached. Data on the use of natural aphrodisiacs in women is limited. The current body of objective evidence does not support the use of any natural aphrodisiac as an effective treatment for male or female sexual dysfunctions. Potent men and men with ED will continue the search for natural aphrodisiacs despite the current disappointing data on their effectiveness. Care should be taken regarding the fraud addition of sildenafil analogues to natural aphrodisiacs.