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A gender- and sexual orientation-dependent spatial attentional effect of invisible images

Abstract

Human
observers are constantly bombarded with a vast amount of information.
Selective attention helps us to quickly process what is important while
ignoring the irrelevant. In this study, we demonstrate that information
that has not entered observers' consciousness, such as interocularly
suppressed (invisible) erotic pictures, can direct the distribution of
spatial attention. Furthermore, invisible erotic information can either
attract or repel observers' spatial attention depending on their gender
and sexual orientation. While unaware of the suppressed pictures,
heterosexual males' attention was attracted to invisible female nudes,
heterosexual females' attention was attracted to invisible male nudes,
gay males behaved similarly to heterosexual females, and gay/bisexual
females performed in-between heterosexual males and females.

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