COMMENTS: Study demonstrating habituation (declining dopamine response) to the same sexual stimuli (audiotapes), and an increase in sexual arousal (increased dopamine) when exposed to a novel sexual stimuli. This is an example of the Coolidge effect at work – more dopamine when presented with a novel sexual possibility. Novelty is what makes Internet porn different from porn of the past.
J Behav Ther Exp Psychiatry. 1991 Jun;22(2):87-96.
O’Donohue W, Plaud JJ.
University of Maine, Department of Psychology.
Long-term habituation of male sexual arousal occurs when (a) short-term (intrasession) habituation occurs; (b) habituated arousal spontaneously recovers; (c) the magnitude of spontaneous remission decreases across habituation sessions; and (d) the number of trials to habituation decreases across sessions.
Five undergraduate volunteers each had six sessions at one week intervals of 15 presentations of erotic audiotapes. For three weeks, the same audiotape was presented, and for each of the other three sessions a different audiotape was presented at every stimulus trial. As indicated by penile plethysmography and self-report, in the constant stimulus conditions the criteria for long-term habituation generally were met. By contrast, responses to variable stimuli remained consistently high. Theoretical and clinical implications of the habituation process are discussed.