A field experiment was conducted in order to test the assumptions by the Supreme Court in Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc. (1991) and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Colacurcio v. City of Kent (1999) that government restrictions on dancer nudity and dancer-patron proximity do not affect the content of messages conveyed by erotic dancers. A field experiment was conducted in which dancer nudity (nude vs. partial clothing) and dancer-patron proximity (4 feet; 6 in.; 6 in. plus touch) were manipulated under controlled conditions in an adult night club. After male patrons viewed the dances, they completed questionnaires assessing affective states and reception of erotic, relational intimacy, and social messages. Contrary to the assumptions of the courts, the results showed that the content of messages conveyed by the dancers was significantly altered by restrictions placed on dancer nudity and dancer-patron proximity. These findings are interpreted in terms of social psychological responses to nudity and communication theories of nonverbal behavior. The legal implications of rejecting the assumptions made by the courts in light of the findings of this study are discussed. Finally, suggestions are made for future research.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- General Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health