Erotic stimuli and aggression: Facilitation or inhibition

Edward I Donnerstein, Marcia Donnerstein, Ronald Evans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Scopus citations


Attempted to reconcile previous results on the relationship of erotic stimuli and aggression. 81 male undergraduates were either insulted or not insulted prior or subsequent to observing erotic stimuli of varying levels of arousal inducements. It was found, in support of prior research, that mildly erotic stimuli had an inhibiting effect on aggression when viewed subsequent to anger arousal, whereas highly erotic stimuli tended to maintain aggression at a level similar to nonerotic exposure. Prior viewing of erotic stimuli, however, had a facilitative effect on aggressive behavior. It is proposed that erotic stimuli have 2 components (arousal and attentional shift) that interact with anger arousal to either inhibit or facilitate aggressive behavior. Implications of this 2-component system for future research on erotic and aggressive stimuli are considered. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-244
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1975


  • attentional shift system
  • overhearing insulting remarks about self prior or subsequent to observation of erotic stimuli, aggression facilitation or inhibition, male college students, implications for arousal &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Erotic stimuli and aggression: Facilitation or inhibition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this