The heat of the moment: the effect of sexual arousal on sexual decision making
Version of Record online: 26 JUL 2005
Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Journal of Behavioral Decision Making
Special Issue: The Role of Affect in Decision Making
Volume 19, Issue 2, pages 87–98, April 2006
How to Cite
Ariely, D. and Loewenstein, G. (2006), The heat of the moment: the effect of sexual arousal on sexual decision making. J. Behav. Decis. Making, 19: 87–98. doi: 10.1002/bdm.501
- Issue online: 3 APR 2006
- Version of Record online: 26 JUL 2005
- sexual arousal;
- situational influences;
- prediction of preferences
Despite the social importance of decisions taken in the “heat of the moment,” very little research has examined the effect of sexual arousal on judgment and decision making. Here we examine the effect of sexual arousal, induced by self-stimulation, on judgments and hypothetical decisions made by male college students. Students were assigned to be in either a state of sexual arousal or a neutral state and were asked to: (1) indicate how appealing they find a wide range of sexual stimuli and activities, (2) report their willingness to engage in morally questionable behavior in order to obtain sexual gratification, and (3) describe their willingness to engage in unsafe sex when sexually aroused. The results show that sexual arousal had a strong impact on all three areas of judgment and decision making, demonstrating the importance of situational forces on preferences, as well as subjects' inability to predict these influences on their own behavior. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.