Study Finds College Students Lie to Conform to Societal Expectations of Their Sexual Behavior

terrifisher2Terri Fisher, a professor of psychology at the Mansfield campus of Ohio State University, has published a study in the journal Sex Roles that shows that college students will lie to match societal expectations about their sexual behaviors. Professor Fisher conducted an experiment in which she interviewed nearly 300 college student about their typical behaviors. Some of the behaviors were typically female and some were typically male. Some of the students were hooked up to what they were told was a lie detector machine, but the machine did not actually work.

The results showed that men and women were willing to disclose that they engaged in behaviors more likely to be seen as appropriate for the other gender whether or not they were hooked up to the lie detector device. But when it came to sexual behavior, men and women were likely to lie in order to conform with societal expectations. Men reported more sexual encounters when they were not hooked up to the lie detector than men who were hooked up to the device. Women who were not hooked up to the machine reported fewer sexual encounters than women who were connected to the lie detector.

“Men and women had different answers about their sexual behavior when they thought they had to be truthful,” Professor Fisher stated.

The article, “Gender Roles and Pressure to be Truthful: The Bogus Pipeline Modifies Gender Differences in Sexual but Not Non-sexual Behavior,” may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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