Repeated engagement in addictive behaviors may lead to relatively automatic action tendencies whereby individuals approach rather than avoid addictive stimuli. This study assessed whether an approach bias for erotic stimuli exists among heterosexual college-aged females who report using pornography. We tested 121 female undergraduates using an approach-avoidance task (AAT) employing both erotic and neutral stimuli, during which participants were instructed to push or pull a gaming joystick in response to image orientation. To simulate approach and avoidance movements, pulling the joystick enlarged the image and pushing shrunk the image. Severity of pornography use was assessed using the Brief Pornography Screener (BPS) and the Problematic Pornography Use Scale (PPUS). Participants demonstrated a significant approach bias of 24.81 ms for erotic stimuli as compared to neutral stimuli, and this approach bias significantly positively correlated with PPUS scores. Moreover, approach bias scores were significantly positively correlated with anhedonia (as assessed by the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale), indicating that the stronger the degree of approach for erotic stimuli, the more anhedonia that was observed. Anhedonia was not significantly associated with pornography use severity, however. Findings implicate both similarities and differences in problematic pornography use among female and male users. A limitation of the current study is that it assessed approach biases among only heterosexual females due to the erotic stimuli employed during the AAT. Future studies should examine approach biases among females of varying sexual orientations.
Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

References

PubMed