A behavioral examination of the sexual temptation bias in men
McAdams, Jennifer Lea
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Temptation bias, a form of self-enhancement bias, has been historically defined as the tendency for individuals to believe they are better at resisting temptation than others. To examine this phenomenon, most studies have relied on self-report questionnaires. One recent study used eye-tracking technology to examine behavioral temptation bias, but the study failed to yield significant results, potentially because participants were aware they were being observed while viewing sexually tempting photographs. The current study had three main goals. In Study 1, we aimed to replicate prior research findings regarding participants' perceived ability to resist temptation. Temptation bias was evidenced when men compared themselves to other men, but in contrast to previous research, the bias was not found when comparing to a partner. In Study 2, we sought to rectify the limitations of previous research by concealing experimenter presence while examining participants' actual ability to resist tempting stimuli in comparison to their perceived ability to resist temptation. Unlike the temptation bias expectation, results provided some support for the idea that participants were largely accurate in their predictions. Lastly, Study 2 examined relationships between one's ability to resist temptation and both sensation seeking and self-monitoring, but non-significant results were found. Limitations and future directions are discussed.