The Effects of Clothing and Dyad Sex Composition on Perceptions of Sexual Intent: Do Women and Men Evaluate These Cues Differently

Antonia Abbey, Catherine Cozzarelli, Kimberly McLaughlin, Richard J. Harnish

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations

Abstract

The effects of clothing revealingness and dyad‐sex composition on perceptions of male‐ and female‐stimulus persons' sexuality were examined. Based on Abbey's (1982) findings, we hypothesized that men would attribute more sexuality to both male and female targets than women would. Furthermore, we predicted that the difference between men's and women's sexuality ratings would be most divergent when a male‐female dyad was presented and when the female stimulus person wore revealing clothing. A laboratory study was conducted in which subjects viewed a photograph of two students in a classroom. As predicted, male subjects rated female targets as more sexy and seductive than did female subjects. Also as predicted, female targets who wore revealing clothing were rated as more sexy and seductive than those wearing nonrevealing clothing. Female targets were rated higher on sexual traits regardless of the gender of their partner. Men did not consistently perceive male stimulus persons more sexually than women did. Finally, both female and male targets were perceived as more kind and warm when they wore nonrevealing clothing. The implications of these findings for person perception and date rape research are described.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-126
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology

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