Studying sexual aggression: A review of the evolution and validity of laboratory paradigms

Kelly Cue Davis, Dominic J. Parrott, William H. George, Andra Teten Tharp, Gordon C.Nagayama Hall, Cynthia A. Stappenbeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Objective: Researchers have endeavored for decades to develop and implement experimental assessments of sexual aggression and its precursors to capitalize on the many scientific advantages offered by laboratory experiments, such as rigorous control of key variables and identification of causal relationships. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of and commentary on the evolution of these laboratory-based methods. Conclusions: To date, two primary types of sexual aggression laboratory studies have been developed: those that involve behavioral analogues of sexual aggression and those that assess postulated precursors to sexually aggressive behavior. Although the study of sexual aggression in the laboratory is fraught with methodological challenges, validity concerns, and ethical considerations, advances in the field have resulted in greater methodological rigor, more precise dependent measures, and improved experimental validity, reliability, and realism. Because highly effective sexual aggression prevention strategies remain elusive, continued laboratory-based investigation of sexual aggression coupled with translation of critical findings to the development and modification of sexual aggression prevention programs remains an important task for the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)462-476
Number of pages15
JournalPsychology of Violence
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Behavioral analogues
  • Laboratory paradigms
  • Sexual aggression
  • Sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Studying sexual aggression: A review of the evolution and validity of laboratory paradigms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this