chapter  14
26 Pages

Responding to Erotica: Perceptual Processes and Dispositional Implications

The question of exactly which socially relevant messages are manifest in mass media depictions of human sexuality and what effects consumption of these mes­ sages has on individuals and society, especially consumption of messages that are extracted from entertainment presentations (i.e., erotica and pornography),1 is examined in this chapter. First, the status of such materials in the modern en­ tertainment marketplace is explored, their manifest content characteristics are delineated, and the crux of the controversy over these materials is articulated. Next, pertinent empirical investigations examining the perceptual and disposi­ tional responses occasioned by exposure to contemporary erotica are summarized. Finally, several consistencies and contradictions evident from the growing volume of research are highlighted and their implications are discussed.