Differentiating sexual preference in men: Using dual task rapid serial visual presentation task

Angelo Zappalà, Jan Antfolk, A Backstrom, B Dombert, A Mokros, Pekka Santtila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Cognition research suggests that allocating attention resources to evolutionarily relevant stimuli is facilitated suggesting that sexual stimuli interfere with human information processing. In a group of gay (n=13) and straight men (n=13) recruited in Finland, Germany and Italy, we investigated if and how sexually relevant visual stimuli affect information processing of both a target one (T1) and a subsequent target two (T2) in a dual target rapid serial visual presentation procedure. We hypothesized that: (1) due to the attentional blink (AB) phenomenon, the accuracy of reporting of T2 would decrease when following accurately identified sexually preferred T1 compared to accurately identified non-sexually preferred T1; 2) due to the pop out effect, the accuracy of reporting of T1 and T2 would be relatively increased when T1 and T2 were sexually preferred by the participants compared to when they were not. Our findings did not support hypothesis 1 but supported hypothesis 2. We further found that the pop out effect had a good capacity to differentiate sexual preference between the groups of gay and straight men. We conclude that dual target rapid serial visual presentation can be used as an attention-based measurement to differentiate sexual preference in men. Limitations and the applicability in the field of measuring sexual preference were discussed.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)320–327
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Attention-based measurement
  • attentional blink
  • pop out effect
  • rapid serial visual presentation
  • sexual preference

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