All Volumes (2001-2008)


Volume VI, 2007

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This study was designed to explore the effects of need for cognition on stereotypes of sexual behaviors and STD infection rates. After reviewing the literature on sexual behaviors, STD infection rates, stereotypes, and need for cognition, two hypotheses were proposed. The first hypothesis was that participants would engage in stereotyping. That is, participants would perceive the frequency of various sexual behaviors, the acceptability of various sexual behaviors, and STD infection rates differently depending on the sex and sexual orientation of targets. The second hypothesis was that participants low in need for cognition should be more likely then participants high in need for cognition to use stereotypes when perceiving the frequency of sexual behavior, acceptability of sexual behavior, and STD infection rates. Participants were randomly assigned to answer questionnaires about one of four targets: heterosexual female, heterosexual male, homosexual female, or homosexual male. The first hypothesis received substantial support, and the second hypothesis received very limited support. Plausible alternative explanations and future directions are discussed.