Expectancies, alcohol, and sexual arousal in male social drinkers

G. Terence Wilson, David M. Lawson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


Randomly assigned 40 undergraduate males, all social drinkers, to 1 of 2 expectation conditions in which they were led to believe that the beverage they were administered contained either vodka and tonic or tonic only. For half of the Ss in each expectation condition, the beverage contained vodka; the others drank only tonic. After their drinks, measures of penile tumescence were taken from Ss using a penile strain gauge during 2 erotic films, 1 depicting a heterosexual interaction, the other a male homosexual interaction. Although analyses of variance failed to reveal any effect of alcohol per se, there were significant effects of expectation on penile tumescence during both the heterosexual and homosexual films. Ss who believed that they had consumed an alcoholic beverage manifested significantly greater sexual arousal than those believing they had consumed a nonalcoholic beverage, regardless of the contents of their drinks. Although no consistent effects were observed on additional measures of sexual arousal, including the TAT, the Word Association Test, and forehead skin temperature, there was a significant positive correlation between self-report measures of sexual arousal and penile tumescence. (19 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-594
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Abnormal Psychology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1976

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


  • belief of vs actual consumption of alcoholic beverage vs placebo, penile tumescence during viewing of erotic films, male college student social drinkers


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