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Differences in Personality Attributions Toward Tattooed and Nontattooed Virtual Human Characters

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Abstract

Individuals with body modifications, such as tattoos, have been shown to differ from nonmodified individuals in sensation-seeking personality characteristics and sociosexuality. This study examined possible differences in people’s attributions of those characteristics toward virtual human characters varying in body modification. Some 287 participants rated tattooed and nontattooed bodies of avatars on aspects of sensation seeking and number of previous sexual partners. Tattooed stimuli were rated as more experience, thrill, and adventure seeking as well as more likely to have a high number of previous sexual partners and as less inhibited when compared to nontattooed stimuli, and this was particularly true for male stimuli. It was concluded that people with body modifications, such as tattoos, are perceived differently compared to nontattooed individuals in terms of sensation seeking and previous sexual partner number, this being particularly true for men. Findings are discussed with reference to the evolutionary model of human sexual selection.
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... This could explain why most of the participants possessed more than one tattoo. Furthermore, evidence suggests that tattooed females are more feminine and attractive than non-tattooed females and the increase of attractiveness could be the main motivator for females to possess tattoos (Wohlrab et al., 2009). Winston agrees with the physical appeal of tattoos, but feels tattoos aren't fully justified without meaning: "Yeah sure, some tattoos may look amazing but when they lack a meaning, I feel they lose a bit of credibility, in my opinion at least." (Transcript 5; lines 10-11). ...
... From an evolutionary perspective, attractiveness indicates a male's quality in the sense of pathogen resistance, which can interpreted as a display of dominance or masculinity (Wohlrab et al., 2009). Both traits are desirable and it has been suggested that males with these qualities are more disposed to tolerate the health risk of possessing tattoos, signifying their strength (Kozieł and Sitek, 2013). ...
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... Some researchers suggested that tattooing behavior may represent a marker of personality maladjustment [43][44][45][46][47], or complicated self-esteem [48]. Numerous studies linked tattoos with adolescent psychopathology [29,31,49] and adult antisocial behavior [30,35]. Swami et al. [50] suggested that between-group differences in the personality traits of persons with tattoos have been grossly overstated. ...
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Since the 1980s, tattooing has emerged anew in the United States as a widely appealing cultural, artistic, and social form. In Bodies of Inscription Margo DeMello explains how elite tattooists, magazine editors, and leaders of tattoo organizations have downplayed the working-class roots of tattooing in order to make it more palatable for middle-class consumption. She shows how a completely new set of meanings derived primarily from non-Western cultures has been created to give tattoos an exotic, primitive flavor. Community publications, tattoo conventions, articles in popular magazines, and DeMello's numerous interviews illustrate the interplay between class, culture, and history that orchestrated a shift from traditional Americana and biker tattoos to new forms using Celtic, tribal, and Japanese images. DeMello's extensive interviews reveal the divergent yet overlapping communities formed by this class-based, American-style repackaging of the tattoo. After describing how the tattoo has moved from a mark of patriotism or rebellion to a symbol of exploration and status, the author returns to the predominantly middle-class movement that celebrates its skin art as spiritual, poetic, and self-empowering. Recognizing that the term “community” cannot capture the variations and class conflict that continue to thrive within the larger tattoo culture, DeMello finds in the discourse of tattooed people and their artists a new and particular sense of community and explores the unexpected relationship between this discourse and that of other social movements. This ethnography of tattooing in America makes a substantive contribution to the history of tattooing in addition to relating how communities form around particular traditions and how the traditions themselves change with the introduction of new participants. Bodies of Inscription will have broad appeal and will be enjoyed by readers interested in cultural studies, American studies, sociology, popular culture, and body art.
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A large sample of readers of a popular psychology magazine took the Sensation Seeking Scale (form V) and filled out a personal data form. The information in the data form was used to examine the relationship between SSS scores and demographic and experience variables. Sex and age showed strong relationships with the SSS. Education and occupation of the subjects and their parents showed lesser relationships with the SSS and primarily in females. Non-believers in conventional religion and infrequent church-goers had higher SSS scores than those who identify with such religions and attend church regularly. Smokers had higher scores than non-smokers although the relationship with amount of smoking was not a linear one. Driving habits of speeding related strongly to sensation seeking in a linear fashion.
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Two samples of male students (N = 25, and N = 51) and a small sample of female students (N = 7) were administered the Sensation Seeking Scale (SSS), and blood samples were drawn on two occasions to determine plasma levels of androgens and oestrogens. Reliable and significant simple and partial correlations were found between the sex hormones and the SSS subscale, Disinhibition. Partial correlations simultaneously controlled for height, weight, age, and recency of orgasm.
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Bodies of Inscription:. Cultural History of the Modern Tattoo Community. Margo DeMello. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. 2000.