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JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH, 47(1), 6678, 2010 Copyright # The Society for the Scientic Study of Sexuality ISSN:

0022-4499 print=1559-8519 online DOI: 10.1080/00224490902954323

Power, Sex, and Rape Myth Acceptance: Testing Two Models of Rape Proclivity
Kristine M. Chapleau and Debra L. Oswald
Department of Psychology, Marquette University Power and sex are thought to be important factors associated with sexual aggression. The goal of this study was to offer a dual-process model to determine how both an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs contribute to rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity. In Study 1, an explicit measure of powersex beliefs was developed using a participant sample of 131 college students (54% female; age: M 20.2 years, SD 3.5 years). In Study 2, 108 male college students (age: M 19.1 years, SD 1.3 years) completed a powersex implicit association test and three explicit measures assessing powersex beliefs, rape myth acceptance, and rape proclivity. Two models of rape proclivity were compared. The best-tting model showed that rape myth acceptance mediated the relationships between rape proclivity and an implicit powersex association, as well as explicit powersex beliefs.

The concepts of power and sex are closely associated in our society. A common example is describing sex as a conquest or as a surrender, which suggests that sex is about one person overpowering another. Similarly, describing being taken advantage of in a business transaction as getting screwed sexualizes power transactions. The connection between power and sex is most apparent and serious in acts of rape. Indeed, earlier theories of sexual aggression examined if rapists are motivated by either power or sex (e.g., Brownmiller, 1975; Ellis, 1991; Thornhill & Thornhill, 1992). More recent theories, however, have examined how perpetrators are motivated by the combination of power and sex at the implicit (Bargh, Raymond, Pryor, & Strack, 1995; Kamphuis, de Ruiter, Janssen, & Spiering, 2005; Zurbriggen, 2000) and explicit (Malamuth, Linz, Heavey, Barnes, & Acker, 1995) levels of cognitive processing. If rapists implicitly and explicitly associate power with sex, then it is important to understand how they both relate to sexually aggressive behavior and its correlates. Specically, rape myth acceptance has been found to be a strong correlate of rape proclivity (Bohner, Jarvis, Eyssel, & Siebler, 2005; Bohner et al., 1998).
The results of this study were presented at the annual meeting of the Midwestern Psychological Association (May 2007) and in a poster at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (August 2007). We thank John Grych and Steve Franzoi for their helpful suggestions, as well as Kirsten Noe, Cal Stoffel, and Tim Geier for their assistance with data collection. Correspondence should be addressed to Kristine M. Chapleau, Department of Psychology, Marquette University, P.O. Box 1881, Milwaukee, WI 53201. E-mail: kristine.chapleau@mu.edu

Therefore, it is also important to understand if associating power with sex relates to the formation or maintenance of rape myths. We propose a simple dual-process model of sexual aggression where an implicit powersex association and explicit beliefs about power and sex relate to rape myth acceptance, and ultimately rape proclivity.

Dual-Process Models Social cognitive researchers have used dual-process models to explain the formation of attitudes, memories, decisions, stereotypes, and social behaviors (Devine, 1989; Fazio, 1986; Ferreira, Garcia-Marques, Sherman, & Sherman, 2006; Smith & DeCoster, 2000; Strack & Deutsch, 2004; Wilson, Lindsey, & Schooler, 2000). According to Smith and DeCosters (2000) dual-process model of cognitive psychology, people have two memory systems and each stores its own information. The information in the slow-learning memory system is based on typical events acquired over time across many experiences. Information in the fast-learning memory system is based on novel events and can be acquired after a single experience. The information contained in the slow-learning memory system is at times the same as the information in the fast-learning system. At these times, people will give the same response no matter if they used associative or rule-based processing to reach their answer (Smith & DeCoster, 2000). At others times, the two memory systems contain different information and thus, people will give

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contradictory responses depending on whether they used associative or rule-based processing to reach their answer (DeCoster, Banner, Smith, & Semin, 2006). Associative (i.e., implicit) processing accesses information stored in the slow-learning memory system. Smith and DeCoster (2000) characterized associative processing as a pattern-completion mechanism that provides a schema for new situations based on previous experience in similar situations. Associative processing is performed preconsciously and needs few cognitive resources to operate (e.g., Bargh, 1994). It is more likely to inuence judgments and behaviors when time is limited, motivation is low, attention is poor, and the accuracy of judgments is deemed unimportant (Bargh, 1994; Devine, 1989; Hofmann, Gawronski, Gschwendner, Le, & Scmitt, 2005; Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Thus, associative processing is a better predictor of spontaneous behavior than is the more effortful rule-based processing (Fazio, 1986; Karpinski, Steinman, & Hilton, 2005; Smith & DeCoster, 2000; Strack & Deutsch, 2004). Associative processing is experienced as an affective reaction and its operation is so unobtrusive that it is often perceived as part of the environment rather than as an internal reaction to the environment (Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Associative processing is measured with tasks such as the Implicit Association Test (IAT) and sequential priming tasks (Bargh & Chartrand, 2000; Strack & Deutsch, 2004). In contrast, rule-based (i.e., explicit) processing accesses information stored in the fast-learning and the slow-learning memory systems (Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Rule-based processing uses rules and logic to guide thinking. These rules are stored in the fastlearning memory system but, when practiced over time, these rules are incorporated into the slow-learning system. Rule-based processing is performed consciously, and needs cognitive resources to operate (e.g., Smith & DeCoster, 2000). It is more likely to inuence judgments and behavior when time is unlimited, motivation is high, attention is good, and the accuracy of judgments is deemed important (Bargh, 1994; Devine, 1989; Hofmann et al., 2005; Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Thus, rule-based processing is a better predictor of reasoned behavior than is associative processing (Fazio, 1986; Karpinski et al., 2005; Strack & Deutsch, 2004). Rule-based processing is experienced as thinking and its operation can be consciously reected on. Rule-based processing is measured through tasks such as a survey of peoples beliefs (Strack & Deutsch, 2004). Recent dual-process models have suggested that rule-based and associative processes operate simultaneously and contribute independently to social judgments and behavior (Ferreira et al., 2006; Smith & DeCoster, 2000; Strack & Deutsch, 2004; Wilson et al., 2000). Although associative processing is executed more quickly than rule-based processing, as rule-based processing introduces new concepts, it reactivates

associative processing (Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Thus, these processes are concurrently active and compete for control of an overt response (Strack & Deutsch, 2004, p. 221). Dual-Process Model of Rape Proclivity Based on Smith and DeCosters (2000) dual-process model, associative processing (i.e., implicit association) and rule-based processing (i.e., explicit beliefs) of the concepts power and sex may independently contribute to sexually aggressive attitudes and behaviors. Whereas an implicit association between power and sex would be related to more spontaneous behavior, explicit beliefs about the link between power and sex would be related to reasoned justications for sexually aggressive behavior. Because rape myth acceptance, when made salient, corresponds to rape proclivity (Bohner et al., 2005; Bohner et al., 1998), it is important to develop a model of how an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs relate to rape myth acceptance. Implicit powersex association. Previous research has shown that sexually aggressive men demonstrate greater associative processing of power and sexthat is, they demonstrate an implicit powersex association, which is a well-learned mental connection between the concepts of power and sex (Bargh et al., 1995; see also Greenwald et al., 2002). Men, in general, implicitly associate sex with aggression (Mussweiler & Forster, 2000) and with dominance (Sanchez, Crocker, & Boike, 2005) to a greater degree than do women. Further, sexually aggressive men, compared to nonaggressive men, demonstrate a stronger implicit powersex association (Bargh et al., 1995; Kamphuis et al., 2005; Zurbriggen, 2000). For example, in a sequential priming task in which words related to power (e.g., mighty) primed target words related to sex (e.g., bed), men who reported being attracted to the idea of sexually assaulting a woman pronounced the target words faster than did men who were not attracted to the idea of sexual aggression (Bargh et al., 1995). Similarly, Zurbriggen found that sexually coercive men, compared to noncoercive men, had a high need for power and responded faster on a lexical-decision task when words related to power (e.g., master) primed words related to sex (e.g., intercourse). Also, Kamphuis et al. found that men convicted of child molestation, compared to male college students and to men who were convicted of nonsexual violent crimes, responded faster when words related to sex (e.g., arousing) primed words related to power (e.g., tough). In sum, these results suggest that sexually aggressive men have a stronger implicit powersex association than do women, nonaggressive men, and aggressive (but not sexually aggressive) men. How would an implicit powersex association inuence behavior? For sexually aggressive men, being in a 67

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position of power may automatically activate thoughts of sex and, conversely, sexual arousal may activate thoughts of domination (Bargh et al., 1995). Because an implicit powersex association is activated preconsciously, these men would perceive their reactions as part of the environmental stimuli (e.g., Smith & DeCoster, 2000). For example, Bargh et al. described a situation in which a sexually aggressive man could become sexually aroused when he is in charge of a female underling due to an implicit powersex association. Unaware that his power over the woman triggered his arousal, this man would misattribute his arousal to the womans appearance or would misinterpret her deferential behavior toward him as sexually motivated. As a result, this man could act on his arousal and what he perceives as her willingness to accept his advances. Explicit PowerSex Beliefs. Consistent with dual-process models, we propose that sexually aggressive men also use rule-based processing to explicitly link sex with power. An explicit powersex belief is the conscious belief that consensual sex inherently involves power (i.e., either domination or submission).1 Because this belief requires conscious thought, it would be associated with sexually aggressive mens reasoned decision to sexually aggress or to continue making sexual advances after they realize that their advances are unwelcome (for a discussion of free will as an epiphenomenon of automatic behavior, see Wegner, 2005). To our knowledge, there is no measure that assesses the explicit belief that sex and power are linked. A measure of an explicit powersex belief would be similar to existing measures of sexual dominance because both assess sexual power dynamics. However, measures such as the Nelson Sexual Functions measure (Nelson, 1978) and the Affective and Motivational Orientation Related to Erotic Arousal (AMORE) scale (Hill & Preston, 1996) assess the expected enjoyment from sexually dominating another person and how much sexual domination motivates sexual activity. By assessing enjoyment and motivation, these scales measure the affective attitudes associated with sexual dominance but not the cognitive belief that sex and power are inherently linked. Rape Myth Acceptance. Central in many of the models of sexual aggression is the idea that when rape myths are salient, they inuence rape proclivity and other sexually aggressive behavior (Bohner et al., 2005; Bohner et al., 1998; Hill & Preston, 1996; Malamuth et al., 1995). Rape myths are beliefs about rape and sexual assault that blame the victim, justify the perpetrators
1 By consensual sex, we mean that partners have consented to sexual contact. It does not assume that sexual partners have discussed or consented to the enactment of power scripts during sex.

actions, and discount the violence of rape (Burt, 1980; Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1994). For perpetrators, rape myths are thought to reduce the expected negative consequences of committing rape (Bohner et al., 1998; Sykes & Matza, 1957). Bohner et al. (1998; see also Bohner et al., 2005) investigated if sexually aggressive men use rape myths either to facilitate sexual aggression beforehand, or to justify sexual aggression after the fact. Bohner et al. (1998; see also Bohner et al., 2005) manipulated the order in which male participants completed a Rape Myth Acceptance scale and a measure of Rape Proclivity. For participants who completed the Rape Myth Acceptance scale rst and the Rape Proclivity measure second, the correlation between rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity was signicantly higher than it was for the participants who completed the Rape Proclivity measure rst and the Rape Myth Acceptance scale secondthat is, when mens reported level of rape myth acceptance was salient their subsequent report of rape proclivity was more aligned with their level of rape myth acceptance. When mens reported level of rape proclivity was salient, however, their subsequent report of rape myth acceptance was less aligned with their level of rape proclivity. Bohner et al. (1998) concluded that rape myths serve as neutralizing cognitions (see Sykes & Matza, 1957) that permit sexually aggressive men to believe that the behavior they are contemplating will not harm the victim or constitute rape. Thus, theoretical models suggest that rape myth acceptance precedes sexual aggression.

Goal of this Research Although previous research has determined that an implicit powersex association and rape myth acceptance each relates to sexual aggression, research has not determined if an implicit powersex association relates to rape myth acceptance. Further, previous research has not determined how explicit beliefs about power and sex relate to rape myth acceptance and sexual aggression. In Study 1, we developed and validated an explicit measure of powersex beliefs. In Study 2, we used this measure of explicit powersex beliefs, and an implicit measure of a powersex association, to compare two alternative dual-process models of rape proclivity. We were interested in determining how an implicit powersex association, explicit powersex beliefs, rape myth acceptance, and rape proclivity relate to each other. Mens implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs could lead to rape myth acceptance, which could then lead to rape proclivity (Model 1). Alternatively, rape myth acceptance could strengthen an implicit powersex association and explicit power sex beliefs, which could then lead to rape proclivity (Model 2).

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Study 1 In the rst study, we developed a measure of explicit powersex beliefs. This measure assessed the belief that having sex with someone transfers power and imparts a sense of ownership over the other person, regardless of the level of enjoyment derived from sexual domination or how much it motivates sexual activity. The Explicit PowerSex measure should differ from existing scales that measure ones enjoyment from being sexually dominant or submissive. Both the Nelson Sexual Functions (Nelson, 1978) and the AMORE (Hill & Preston, 1996) scales contain domination and submission subscales. The goal of Study 1 was to determine if the Explicit PowerSex measure was reliable and measured a construct distinct from those measured by the Nelson Sexual Functions and AMORE domination and submission subscales. Method Participants Participants were 131 college students from a Midwestern, Catholic university (54.2% female; age: M 20.2 years, SD 3.5 years) enrolled in an upper-level psychology course or an introductory anthropology course. All participants received course extra credit in exchange for their participation. This sample was mostly European American (86.3%; n 113); ve participants were Asian American (3.8%), four were African American (3.1%), three were Hispanic American (2.3%), three were other American (2.3%), and three were citizens from another country (2.3%). Measures Explicit PowerSex measure. To assess explicit powersex beliefs we developed items that measured the belief that sex is a means to achieve and demonstrate power over another person. Because power is confounded with gender in heterosexual romantic relationships (e.g., Sanchez et al., 2005; Zurbriggen, 2000), we wanted to ensure that the items were not directly measuring gender roles. To avoid this, we reviewed a qualitative research article studying homosexual mens attitudes toward sex and power (Kippax & Smith, 2001). Kippax and Smith interviewed homosexual men about the power dynamics associated with being either the inserting or the receiving partner during anal intercourse. From these interviews, we culled statements that captured the nature of power during sex. From these statements (Kippax & Smith, 2001), we constructed 11 items (see the Appendix). Items 1 through 7 refer to the belief that one person should be in control of the other during sex. Items 8 and 10 specically referred to the respondent gaining power over

their sexual partner (In sex, to penetrate someone is to gain power over them. Having sex means gaining possession of someone elses body.). Participants could answer Items 1 through 7 from either the perspective of being the one in control or the one being controlled. Because participants could only answer Items 8 and 10 from the perspective of being in control, we constructed two items (Items 9 and 11: In sex, to penetrate someone is to give up power. Having sex means giving up possession of my body to someone else.) as complements to Items 8 and 10. Participants rated the degree to which they agreed with each item using a seven-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all agree) to 7 (very much agree). Nelson Sexual Functions measure. Participants completed Nelsons (1978) dominance and submission subscales. The domination subscale listed eight reasons why individuals engage in sexual behavior that are related to being in control of ones partner (e.g., Because I like the feeling that I have someone in my grasp.). The submission subscale listed eight reasons why individuals engage in sexual behavior that are related to abrogating control to ones partner (e.g., Because I enjoy the feeling of being overwhelmed by my partner.). All 16 items were listed together alternating between domination and submission items. Participants rated how important each of the items are to their sexual behavior using a four-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all important) to 4 (very important). Separate means were computed for the domination and submission subscales. Higher scores indicate greater importance that dominance and submission have for engaging in sexual relations. For this sample, the alpha coefcients for the domination and submission subscales were .84 and .81, respectively. Nelson reported coefcient alphas of .83 and .77 for the domination and submission subscales, respectively. AMORE scale. Participants completed the enhancement of power and the experiencing the power of ones partner subscales from the AMORE scale (Hill & Preston, 1996). The enhancement of power subscale included 10 motives for sex that involve arousal from dominating ones partner (e.g., I really enjoy having sex as a way to exert dominance and control over my partner.). The experiencing the power of ones partner subscale included 10 motives for sex that involve arousal from submitting to ones partner (e.g., It is frequently very arousing when my partner gets very forceful and aggressive during sex.). Participants rated how true each of the 20 items were for describing their sexual activities on a seven-point scale ranging from 1 (not true at all) to 7 (completely true). For each subscale, the mean of the items was computed. For this sample, the coefcient alpha for the enhancement of power subscale was 69

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.93 and for the experiencing the power of ones partner was .94. Hill and Preston reported coefcient alphas of .91 and .93 for the enhancement of power and the experiencing the power of ones partner, respectively. Procedure A female experimenter distributed survey packets to the participants 15 min prior to the end of class. Each packet contained an information sheet about the study, the Explicit PowerSex measure, the Nelson Sexual Functions domination and submission subscales, and the AMORE scale enhancement of power and the experiencing the power of ones partner subscales. The experimenter stated that participation was voluntary and that participants should not share their responses with their classmates to ensure privacy. Upon completion, participants individually returned the packets to the female experimenter and received a debrieng sheet. Extra credit was given to all students who attended that days class regardless of whether or not they completed the packet.

Results and Discussion A principal component analysis with oblimin rotation (d 0) was used to determine if the Explicit PowerSex measure assessed a construct that was distinct from the related constructs, enjoyment from dominance and submission (the dominance and submission subscales from the Nelson Sexual Functions scale and the AMORE scale). The KaiserMeyerOlkin (KMO) measure of sampling adequacy was adequate (KMO .86). To determine the factor structure, we required primary factor loadings to be .32 or higher; we also examined the scree plot and the percentage of the variance that the factors accounted for. A three-factor solution was determined to be the best t for the data and accounted for 49.2% of the variance. The three factors were Explicit PowerSex, Enjoyment of Dominance, and Enjoyment of Submission. Examining the factor pattern matrix, all 11 items from the Explicit PowerSex measure formed the rst factor, and these items did not load onto the other two factors. Although Items 8 through 11 specied whether the respondent gained or gave up power during sex, all four of these items loaded positively onto the Explicit Power Sex factor. The second factor was labeled Enjoyment of Dominance and included most of the items from the Nelson and AMORE dominance subscales. Of the 18 items from the Nelson and AMORE dominance subscales, only two loaded onto the Explicit Power Sex factor (factor loadings were .34 and .37). The third factor was labeled Enjoyment of Submission and consisted of most of the items from the Nelson and AMORE submission subscales. Of the 18 items from 70

the Nelson and AMORE submission subscales, two cross-loaded onto both the Submission (factor loadings were .35 and .33) and Explicit PowerSex factors (factor loadings were .36 and .42, respectively). Because the Explicit PowerSex items composed its own factor, this suggests that this scale measures a different construct than enjoyment of domination and submission. An overall Explicit PowerSex score was determined for each participant by calculating the mean, with higher scores indicating the belief that sex involves power (amen .83; awomen .82). Most participants scored low on this scale (M 1.53, SD .55; skewness 1.42; standard error of skew .21). To mitigate the positively skewed distribution, Explicit PowerSex scores were log-transformed. Men (M 1.68; Mlog10 0.19) reported a higher explicit powersex association than did women (M 1.42; Mlog10 0.14), t(103.89) 2.33, p < .05 (d .42). Because four of the items (Items 811) could be gender specic, we conducted a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) to test differences in responding between men and women. The overall MANOVA was signicant, suggesting that men and women reported different levels of agreement to these four items overall, F(4, 126) 2.8, p < .05. Examining gender differences per item revealed that men and women responded differently on Item 10 (Having sex means gaining possession of someone elses body.) and Item 11 (Having sex means giving up possession of my body to someone else.; ps < .05). For both items, men, on average, endorsed higher agreement than did women (Item 10: Mmen 1.85, Mwomen 1.41; Item 11: Mmen 2.18, Mwomen 1.51). Mens and womens responses did not signicantly differ for Item 8 (In sex, to penetrate someone is to gain power over them.) or for Item 9 (In sex, to penetrate someone is to give up power.), although both items referred to penetrating a partner, typically a male sexual role (ps > .10). These results suggest that gender differences on these items were not due to the wording of the items. Explicit PowerSex positively correlated with the Nelson dominance subscale (r .58), the AMORE dominance subscale (r .49), the Nelson submission subscale (r .45), and the AMORE submission subscale (r .31; all ps < .001). We examined the correlations separately for men and women. For women, Explicit PowerSex positively correlated with Nelson dominance (r .52), AMORE dominance (r .41), Nelson submission (r .39), and AMORE submission (r .35; all ps < .01). For men, Explicit PowerSex positively correlated with Nelson dominance (r .60), AMORE dominance (r .54), and Nelson submission (r .49; ps < .001); the correlation between Explicit PowerSex and the AMORE submission subscale was marginally signicant (r .22, p .08). Overall, these results conrm that explicit powersex is a different construct from the enjoyment of sexual domination and submission. We believe that this distinction is

POWER, SEX, AND RAPE MYTH ACCEPTANCE

theoretically important. The Explicit PowerSex measure assesses the cognitive belief that sex and power are linked rather than the affective attitude that exerting or deferring power during sex is pleasurable. The Explicit PowerSex measure items were phrased so that participants could respond from the perspective of being dominant or submissive. The two submissive items (e.g., In sex, to penetrate someone is to give up power.) positively correlated with their dominant complements (e.g., In sex, to penetrate someone is to gain power.). This suggests that when people hold beliefs about power and sex, they may believe that sex is a means to both give up and gain control rather than a means to do either one or the other. Future research should study this complex view of power and sex in more detail.

Study 2 In the second study we sought to test a dual-process model of sexual aggression to understand how an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs relate to rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity. For this study, we designed an IAT to measure the strength of the association between power and sex. Although the IAT has never been used for this purpose, we predicted that a powersex IAT would positively correlate with rape proclivity and past sexual aggression. We included rape myth acceptance in the model because the salience of ones rape myth acceptance corresponds to rape proclivity (Bohner et al., 2005; Bohner et al., 1998). An implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs may lead to rape myth acceptance (Model 1), or rape myth acceptance may lead to an implicit powersex association and explicit power sex beliefs (Model 2; see Figure 1). We examined these two models using path analysis. We hypothesized that Model 1 would better t the data. First, we predicted that associative processing of an implicit powersex association would precede rape myth acceptance. Theoretically, if an implicit power-sex association leads sexually aggressive men to misinterpret womens behavior as sexual interest (Bargh et al., 1995), then this misinterpretation may be consistent with rape myths (e.g., Shes saying no but she really means yes. ). Thus, an implicit powersex association may underlie rape myth acceptance. Second, we predicted that rule-based processing of explicit power-sex beliefs would precede rape myth acceptance. If sexually aggressive men believe that sex involves power (e.g., Sex is about one person persuading another to do something they are reluctant to do.), then they may also believe rape myths (e.g., Many women actually enjoy sex after the guy uses a little force.). Thus, explicit powersex beliefs may underlie rape myth acceptance. Consistent with Bohner et al. (1998; see also Bohner et al., 2005), rape myth acceptance would precede rape proclivity.

Figure 1. Comparison of Models 1 and 2. Note. Model 1, in which rape myth acceptance mediated the relationships between rape proclivity and an implicit power-sex association, as well as explicit power-sex beliefs, better t the data. p < .05. p < .001. y p < .10.

Method Participants Participants were 108 men from a Midwestern, Catholic university who were recruited through an introductory psychology course and given course extra credit for their participation. The mean age for this sample was 19.1 years (SD 1.3 years). Most of the participants were European American (79.6%; n 86); three (2.8%) were African American, eight (7.4%) were Asian American, seven (6.5%) were Latino or Hispanic, two (1.9%) were other American, and two (1.9%) were from countries other than the United States.

Measures and apparatus IAT. We adapted the IAT to measure an implicit powersex association by linking the concepts of power (strong vs. weak) with behavior (sex vs. neutral). Using Inquisit 2.0 (2006), participants categorized 16 words: four strong words (strong, tough, authority, control), four weak words (weak, soft, ower, fragile), four sexual words (kissing, groping, foreplay, intercourse), and four neutral words (studying, hearing, seeing, sitting). Standard IAT counterbalancing procedures were used (Greenwald, McGhee, & Schwartz, 1998). There were seven blocks of 25 trials, and participants were instructed 71

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to categorize the words as quickly as possible without making mistakes. Using a computer keyboard, participants rst practiced categorizing strong versus weak words: They pressed the letter D with their left nger if the word was strong and the letter K if the word was weak. For the second block of trials, participants practiced categorizing sexual versus neutral words: They pressed D with their left nger if the word was sexual and K with their right nger if the word was neutral. For Blocks 3 and 4, participants simultaneously categorized strong versus weak words and sexual versus neutral words: They pressed D with the left nger for strong and sexual words (strong sex) and pressed K with the right nger for weak and neutral words (weak neutral). For Block 5, participants practiced categorizing sexual and neutral words using the opposite ngers: They pressed D if the word was neutral and K if the word was sexual. For Blocks 6 and 7, participants simultaneously categorized strong versus weak words and sexual versus neutral words, but this time they pressed D with the left nger for strong and neutral words (strong neutral) and pressed K with the right nger for weak and sexual words (weak sex). All words within each category appeared in random order. The key assignment for the words was counterbalanced as was the order of strong sex and weak sex trials (i.e., Blocks 3 and 4 were counterbalanced with Blocks 6 and 7, respectively). The implicit powersex association was calculated using the improved scoring algorithm by Greenwald, Nosek, and Banaji (2003). Mean reaction times (RTs) were calculated for strong sex trials and weak sex trials for each participant. Smaller RT values indicate quicker performance and, thus, an implicit association between the two concepts. For each participant, the mean strong sex RT was subtracted from the mean weak sex RT and divided by each participants pooled standard deviation. This nal measure, D, is an effect size: A zero value for D indicates no implicit association between power and sex (RTweaksex % RTstrongsex); a negative value for D indicates an implicit association between weakness and sex (RTweaksex < RTstrongsex); a positive value for D indicates an implicit association between power and sex (RTweaksex > RTstrongsex). Explicit PowerSex Beliefs. Participants completed the Explicit PowerSex measure developed in Study 1. This measure used a seven-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all agree) to 7 (very much agree), and the total score was rendered by calculating the mean. Higher scores indicate more agreement with explicit powersex beliefs. The coefcient alpha for this sample was .83. Rape Myth Acceptance. Participants completed the Illinois Rape Myth Acceptance Scale (Payne, Lonsway, & Fitzgerald, 1999). This scale contained 72

45 items and had a seven-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all agree) to 7 (very much agree) to assess agreement with myths about female victims of rape, male perpetrators, and rape as a violent crime (e.g., A lot of women lead a man on and then they cry rape.). The total score was calculated by computing the mean. Higher scores signify more agreement with rape myths. The coefcient alpha for this sample was .91. Payne et al. reported a coefcient alpha of .93. Rape proclivity. Replicating Chiroro, Bohner, Viki, and Jarvis (2004), participants read ve different scenarios that depicted an acquaintance rape. After the participants read each date rape scenario, they responded to the question, In this situation, what is the likelihood that you would have done the same? (0%100%). The total score was calculated by computing the mean response to this question for all ve scenarios. Higher scores indicate a higher expressed likelihood to commit rape. The coefcient alpha for this sample was .70. Chiroro et al. reported a coefcient alpha of .78. Past sexually aggressive behavior. To complement the Rape Proclivity measure, participants completed the aggressor version of the Sexual Experiences Survey (SES; Koss, Gidycz, & Wisniewski, 1987; Koss & Oros, 1982). Participants answered yes or no to 17 items about sexual encounters, which varied in the level of coercion and force (e.g., Had sexual intercourse with a woman when she didnt really want to because she felt pressured by your continual arguments?). Item 1 referred to consensual sexual intercourse and was used to determine participants sexual experience. Because Item 2 was ambiguous (Have you ever misinterpreted the level of sexual intimacy a woman desired?), only Items 3 through 17 were counted as sexually coercive experiences (Malamuth, 1986). The SES was scored dichotomously as yes or no for the admission of any sexually coercive behavior. Procedure Participants were tested individually. A male or female experimenter seated the participant in front of a desktop computer. Once the participant reviewed the information sheet, the experimenter informed the participant that their responses were anonymous and that he should answer the questionnaire items as honestly as possible. The experimenter exited the room and the participant completed the questionnaires in privacy. All of the questionnaires were presented on a desktop computer in random order; the IAT was presented last. When the participant nished the IAT, the computer program displayed the debrieng information. The debrieng stated that the rape proclivity scenarios were created for experimental purposes, disputed the validity of rape myths, and directed the participant to the

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Table 1.
Variable

Study 2: Descriptive Statistics and Correlations


M 7.15 2.30 0.55 221.89 1.78 SD 11.43 0.63 0.39 177.95 0.73 Rape Myth Acceptance .52 Implicit PowerSex .20 .19y Explicit PowerSex .25 .38 .06

Rape Proclivity (untransformed) Rape Myth Acceptance Implicit PowerSex IAT (D) Implicit PowerSex IAT (milliseconds) Explicit PowerSex

Note. N 106. IAT Implicit Association Test. p < .05. p < .01. y p < .10.

university counseling center if he had further questions about sexual aggression or relationships in general (Malamuth & Check, 1984). When the participant exited the room, the experimenter asked if he had any questions about the experiment, offered him a written copy of the debrieng sheet, instructed him to not discuss the details of this experiment with potential participants, and thanked him for his participation.

Results Preliminary analyses Prior to analysis, RTs to the questionnaire items were examined. Two participants responded to the survey items aberrantly fast (<800 msec) compared to the other participants. Because fast responses suggested random responding, these two participants were excluded from all analyses. From the remaining 106 participants, three participants did not complete the IAT, and one participants IAT score was omitted because he had a 29.7% error rate.2 After omitting this participant, the average error rate on the IAT was 6%. In sum, 106 participants completed the explicit surveys; 102 participants completed the explicit surveys and the IAT. Means and standard deviations are presented in Table 1. Past sexual aggression and rape proclivity Of the 106 participants, 67 (63.2%) reported having previous consensual sexual intercourse with a woman; six (5.7%) did not answer this question. Of all 106 participants, 19 (17.9%) reported they had committed at least one type of sexually aggressive act. Previous studies have found that 15% to 25% of male college students report committing some form of sexual coercion (Koss et al., 1987; Koss & Oros, 1982), and our sample was consistent with these studies. Of the 19 men who reported past sexual aggression, 16 reported committing one type of sexually aggressive act, and three reported committing two types of sexually aggressive act. Six (5.7%) reported that they had been in a situation where
Omitting this participants Implicit Association Test score did not alter the ndings.
2

they became so sexually aroused that they could not stop themselves, although the woman did not want to have sex. Of these six men, one reported that he also obtained sexual intercourse by saying things he did not really mean. Six other men (6.7%) obtained sexual intercourse by saying things they did not mean. Three (2.9%) reported having sexual intercourse with a woman when she did not want to because they pressured her by their continual arguments. Three (2.9%) used their position of authority to kiss or fondle a woman when she did not want to be kissed or fondled. Of these three men, one participant (0.9%) reported that he had sexual intercourse with an unwilling woman because he used his position of authority, and one participant (0.9%) reported that he used physical force to try to make a woman engage in kissing or petting when she did not want to be kissed by him. For rape proclivity, 43.4% (n 46) of the entire sample reported that there was no likelihood that they would sexually assault the woman as described in the scenarios. Because of the positive skew of this measure, this variable was log-transformed. Men who reported being sexually aggressive in the past (i.e., endorsed at least one item on the SES; M 15.81, SD 13.82, Mlog10 2.39, SDlog10 1.08; n 19) reported higher rape proclivity than did nonaggressive men (M 4.96, SD 9.87, Mlog10 0.92, SDlog10 1.21; n 85), t(102) 4.88, p < .001. Measure of an implicit powersex association On average, participants had an implicit association between power and sex: They responded 221.89 msec faster during strong sex trials relative to weak sex trials (SD 177.95 msec), and this was signicantly different from zero, t(101) 12.59, p < .001 (95% condence interval [CI] 186.94256.84 msec). Converting this nding into the effect size, D, participants mean RTs on strong sex trials was approximately one-half of a standard deviation above zero (zero indicates no implicit powersex association; D 0.55, SD 0.39), t(101) 14.44, p < .001 (95% CI 0.480.63). This suggests that the majority of the participants implicitly associated sex with power. Further, men who reported any rape proclivity had a relatively stronger implicit 73

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powersex association (D 0.63, SD 0.38; n 52) compared to men who reported no proclivity (D 0.45, SD 0.38; n 46), t(96) 2.33, p < .05. Contrary to our prediction, men who reported being sexually aggressive in the past (D 0.68, SD 0.32) did not have a signicantly stronger implicit power sex association than men who did not report past sexual aggression (D 0.53, SD 0.40), t(100) 1.43, p .16. This nonsignicant nding may have been due to the small sample of men who reported being sexually aggressive and, thus, low statistical power. A post hoc power analysis indicated that our power for this analysis was only 0.31 (Faul, Erdfelder, Lang, & Buchner, 2007). Multivariate assumptions Rape Proclivity and Explicit PowerSex scores were log-transformed to mitigate a positive skew. Multicollinearity was checked using multiple regression; tolerance levels were at acceptable levels (.60 and above). Scatterplots between the dependent variable, rape proclivity, and the predictor variables were linear. Intercorrelations among predictors Pearson correlations among the predictors are presented in Table 1. Consistent with previous ndings (Bohner et al., 1998), rape proclivity positively correlated with rape myth acceptance (r .52). Furthermore, both rape proclivity and rape myth acceptance had small to moderate correlations with implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs. Implicit PowerSex and Explicit PowerSex, however, were not correlated. Path analysis The goal of the path analysis was to determine the best tting model that incorporated an implicit power sex association and explicit powersex beliefs. Using AMOS Version 7.0, two hypothesized models were tested. Model 1 tested that an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs are antecedents to rape myth acceptance. In Model 2, an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs mediate the relationship between rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity. Maximum likelihood estimation was used to estimate the parameters. In interpreting the models we examined the path estimates, chi-square, and the root mean square error of approximation (RMSEA). Because the chi-square is inuenced by the sample size, we also looked at the chi-square to degrees of freedom ratio, where a ratio of two or less indicates a good t (Ullman, 1996). We adopted the guidelines that an RMSEA less than .05 indicates a good t, and less than .08 indicates an acceptable t (McDonald & Ho, 2002), and global t indexes should be larger than .90 (McDonald & Ho, 2002). 74

In Model 1, Implicit PowerSex and Explicit Power Sex were placed as antecedents to rape myth acceptance (Figure 1). The direct path between Implicit PowerSex and Rape Myth Acceptance was marginally signicant (b .17, p .07), and the direct path between Explicit PowerSex and Rape Myth Acceptance was signicant (b .37, p < .001). Together, Implicit PowerSex and Explicit PowerSex accounted for 16.2% of the variance in Rape Myth Acceptance. The direct path between Rape Myth Acceptance and Rape Proclivity was signicant (b .52, p < .001).3 This model accounted for 27% of the variance in Rape Proclivity, v2(2, N 106) 2.00, p .37; v2=df ratio 1.00 (comparative t index [CFI] 1.00, RMSEA .00). The t statistics and model chi-square all indicated a good t. In Model 2 (Figure 1), Rape Myth Acceptance was placed as an antecedent to Implicit PowerSex and Explicit PowerSex. The direct path between Rape Myth Acceptance and Implicit PowerSex was marginally signicant (b .19, p .05), as was the direct path between Rape Myth Acceptance and Explicit Power Sex (b .38, p < .001). The direct paths between both Implicit PowerSex (b .19, p < .05) and Explicit PowerSex (b .24, p .01) to Rape Proclivity were signicant.4 The overall model accounted for 10% of the variance in Rape Proclivity, v2(2, N 106) 24.82, p < .001; v2=df ratio 12.41 (CFI .50, RMSEA .33). The t statistics and model chi-square did not meet criteria for a good t. Of the two models tested, there was stronger support for Model 1 where rape myth acceptance mediated the relationships between implicit powersex association and explicit powersex, and rape proclivitythat is, both the associative processing and rule-based processing of the powersex link independently contributed to the prediction of rape myth acceptance. General Discussion We sought to develop a dual-process model of sexual aggression by examining the relationships between mens implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs, rape myth acceptance, and rape
3 In Figure 1, when Rape Myth Acceptance was excluded from Model 1, both Implicit PowerSex (b .19, p < .05) and Explicit PowerSex (b .24, p < .01) were signicant predictors of Rape Proclivity, accounting for 9.4% of the variance. When Rape Myth Acceptance was included in the model as a mediator, the paths from Implicit PowerSex (b .11, p > .10) and Explicit PowerSex (b .07, p > .10) to Rape Proclivity were no longer signicant. Thus, Rape Myth Acceptance fully mediated the relationship between Implicit and Explicit PowerSex, and Rape Proclivity (Baron & Kenny, 1986). 4 In Figure 1, when the path from Rape Myth Acceptance to Rape Proclivity was included in Model 2 (1 df), both Implicit and Explicit PowerSex were no longer signicant predictors of Rape Proclivity (ps > .10). This provides further evidence that Implicit and Explicit PowerSex did not mediate the relationship between Rape Myth Acceptance and Rape Proclivity (Baron & Kenny, 1986).

POWER, SEX, AND RAPE MYTH ACCEPTANCE

proclivity. We tested two models in which implicit and explicit powersex either preceded or followed rape myth acceptance. Consistent with recent dual-process theories and our hypothesis, the model in which an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs preceded rape myth acceptance better t the data. This model accounted for 27% of the variance in rape proclivity. It is important to note that rape myth acceptance accounted for all of this variance: Implicit power sex association and explicit powersex beliefs did not add to the prediction of rape proclivity. This model provides preliminary evidence that an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs underlie rape myth acceptance, which then predicts reported rape proclivity. This suggests that rape myths are part of a learned system where consensual sex is associated with power. If we rst consider the associative processing of power and sex, the stronger the mental association between power and sex, the more participants endorsed rape myths and reported a higher likelihood that they would rape. Consistent with Bargh et al. (1995), we contend that activation of an implicit powersex association may lead to preconsciously viewing situations in a manner that is congruent with rape myths. This rape myth schema may lead to some men misperceiving womens attire and behavior as asking for it or misperceiving their own sexual interest as uncontrollable. This, in turn, could correspond with more domineering nonconscious behavior such as making eye contact, initiating physical contact, invading personal space, and initiating other approach behaviors (Keltner, Gruenfeld, & Anderson, 2003). Further, an implicit powersex association may be more predictive of sexually aggressive behavior when time is limited, motivation is low, attention is poor, and the accuracy of judgments is not deemed important. Specically, an implicit powersex association may be more predictive of behavior when some men are under the inuence of alcohol. This would be consistent with previous research that has found that mens alcohol consumption is related to men overestimating womens sexual interest (Abbey, McAuslan, & Ross, 1998; Abbey, McAuslan, Zawacki, Clinton, & Buck, 2001) and mens sexually aggressive behavior (Abbey, 1991; Koss & Gaines, 1993). Unique to this study, the implicit powersex association was assessed using the IAT instead of a sequential priming task (see Bargh et al., 1995; Kamphuis et al., 2005; Zurbriggen, 2000). Like the sequential priming task, the powersex IAT positively correlated with rape proclivity. Unlike the sequential priming task, the powersex IAT also correlated with rape myth acceptance. The powersex IAT, however, did not distinguish between men who did and did not report being sexually aggressive in the past. Our sample of sexually aggressive men, however, was too small to provide sufcient statistical power for this analysis and, as previous research has found, it is possible that the men in our sample

may have misinterpreted some of the items on the SES (Ross & Allgeier, 1996). Nonetheless, this study suggests that the IAT can be adapted to assess an implicit power sex association that is predictive of mens endorsement of rape myths and rape proclivity. Considering the rule-based processing of power and sex, the extent to which men endorsed that consensual sex involves power correlated with rape myth acceptance and with rape proclivity. Explicit powersex beliefs are distinct from how much one enjoys sexual domination or submission. We argue that explicit powersex beliefs are related to rape myth acceptance and sexual aggression in two ways. First, the belief that consensual sex involves the transfer of power between partners may be a sex myth. Sexually aggressive men may legitimize rape as a part of a consensual sexual script in which they dominate their partners and their partners reluctantly submit (Osman, 2003)that is, explicit powersex beliefs may blur the line between consensual sex and rape. Second, explicit powersex beliefs imply that sex is a viable method to gain power over another person. For example, some sexually aggressive men use rape to retaliate against women and to feel more powerful (Brownmiller, 1975; Groth & Burgess, 1978; Lisak & Roth, 1988; Scully & Marolla, 1985). Theoretically, explicit powersex beliefs would be more predictive of sexually aggressive behavior when time is unlimited, motivation is high, attention is good, and the accuracy of judgments is deemed important. Explicit powersex beliefs would be associated with sexually aggressive mens reasoned decision to rape. The Implicit PowerSex IAT and the Explicit Power Sex measure were uncorrelated. The lack of correlation between explicit and implicit measures is consistent with previous research and with dual-process theory (DeCoster et al., 2006; Hofmann et al., 2005; Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Because implicit (associative) and explicit (rule-based) processes draw from different memory systems that can contain contradictory information (Smith & DeCoster, 2000), it is not surprising that on average men demonstrated an implicit powersex association but reported low agreement with explicit powersex beliefs. Specically, although men can implicitly associate power with sex (e.g., have well-learned knowledge about this association), it does not mean that they explicitly agree that consensual sex inherently involves power (e.g., Devine, 1989). Furthermore, men can explicitly associate sex with power but this association may not be well-practiced (Smith & DeCoster, 2000). Limitations It is important to note the limitations of path analysis. Other variables related to rape myth acceptance and rape proclivity were not included in the models we tested. Although the models we tested were theoretically based, different variables may produce a better tting 75

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model. Further, path analysis does not show that an implicit powersex association or explicit powersex beliefs cause rape myth acceptance or rape proclivity. Theoretically, however, we argue that thoughts precede behavior (see Strack & Deutsch, 2004). Some men may be attracted to sexual aggression long before they actually commit rape, if they ever do. Zurbriggen (2000) cited many possible origins to a powersex association such as gender roles, sexual victimization, and the media. These inuences are often present in childhood, presumably before overt sexually aggressive behaviors surface. Further, because previous research has found that thinking about ones rape myth acceptance corresponds with reported rape proclivity instead of the other way around (Bohner et al., 2005; Bohner et al., 1998), this suggests that sexual beliefs precede behavior. However, studies that utilize experimental methodology are necessary to establish causality. Second, participants in Study 2 completed the power sex IAT after responding to all of the self-report measures. Past research has found that the order of presentation has little to no effect on the IAT or self-report means when self-report measures are short, simple, and have good reliability (Nosek, Greenwald, & Banaji, 2005). Because our battery of self-report measures was lengthy, it is possible that the surveys primed concepts of power and sex. This is one explanation for why all the men, on average, showed an implicit powersex association. This does not, however, explain why men who reported rape proclivity also demonstrated a stronger powersex association than did men who reported no proclivitythat is, if all of the male participants were primed through mere exposure to the survey items, then the relationships between the survey scores and IAT score should have attenuated. Third, we examined this model within the context of a predominately White, male college student sample. Sexual aggression is a problem on college campuses, and it is important to understand the beliefs and behaviors of college men. These results may generalize to other samples. For example, convicted sex offenders demonstrated a stronger implicit powersex association than did convicted non-sexual offenders and college students (Kamphuis et al., 2005). Although this suggests that these results should hold for other samples, additional testing is warranted. If an implicit powersex association and explicit powersex beliefs are learned from the environment, it would be interesting to see how this learning varies by culture. For example, people from cultures with strong, traditional gender roles may demonstrate a stronger implicit powersex association and endorse more explicit powersex beliefs than people from egalitarian cultures. Future Research and Conclusion Based on the ndings of our study, there are several avenues for future research. First, we speculate that rape 76

myths function differently depending on whether incited by associative or rule-based processing. Future research should determine how associative and rule-based processing separately affect rape myth acceptance. Second, we conceptualized an explicit powersex belief as using sex to gain power over ones partner. Another type of explicit powersex belief may be the belief that sex can be used to gain social power and status among peers. This belief could also motivate sexual aggression and should be investigated. A third area for future research is physiology. Because physiology affects both sex drive and aggressive behavior, it may be interesting to understand how testosterone levels relate to an implicit powersex association, explicit powersex beliefs, rape myth acceptance, and rape proclivity.5 Because rape myths seem to be integral in the commission of rape, determining the underpinnings of rape myths could lead to improved educational programs. If rape myth acceptance is related to attitudes regarding sex and power, then educational programs may be more effective if they target these attitudes. Specically, we propose that myths about sex and power are more prevalent in the media than myths about rape. Although media depictions of consensual sex could be labeled as rape or sexual coercion by those who study sexual violence, the media seldom present these depictions as rape but rather as a normal sexual script. These scripts involving power and sex may underlie rape myth acceptance (see Littleton & Axsom, 2003). Educational programs could discuss the role of power in consensual sexual scenarios. Such programs may be successful by revising sexually aggressive mens underlying beliefs about the adversarial nature of consensual sex.

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5

We thank an anonymous reviewer for suggesting this future area of research.

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This questionnaire asks you about general beliefs people have about sexual behavior with another person (e.g., kissing, petting, oral sex, intercourse, etc.). For the following items, use the scale below to indicate how much you agree with each statement.
1 Not at all agree 2 3 4 Somewhat agree 5 6 7 Very much agree

Appendix Explicit PowerSex Measure PLEASE BE EXTREMELY HONEST AND THINK ABOUT YOURSELF VERY CAREFULLY WHEN RESPONDING TO EACH STATEMENT! There are no right or wrong answers. The questions may appear repetitive, but it is necessary that the questionnaires are constructed in this way. Please be very patient and thoughtful in answering each one.

1. During sex, one person is typically in charge of the other. 2. Sex is about one person submitting to the will of another. 3. Sex is about one person persuading another to do something they are reluctant to do. 4. During sex, one person should feel a little vulnerable and the other should feel in control. 5. During sex, one person should be dominant and the other should be submissive. 6. Sex means that one person is in control of the relationship. 7. Sex means that one person is in control of the other persons body. 8. In sex, to penetrate someone is to gain power over them. 9. In sex, to penetrate someone is to give up power. 10. Having sex means gaining possession of someone elses body. 11. Having sex means giving up possession of my body to someone else.

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