Pluralistic ignorance and hooking up

  • Lambert T
  • Kahn A
  • Apple K
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Abstract

"Hooking up "—when two people agree to engage in sexual behavior for which there is no future commitment—has become popular on college campuses. In this study we examined the extent to which pluralistic ignorance affects hooking up. One hundred thirty-six female and 128 male college students answered questions regarding their own comfort and their perceived peers'comfort in engaging in a variety of sexual behaviors while hooking up. We hypothesized and found that both women and men rated their peers as being more comfortable engaging in these behaviors than they rated themselves. Men expressed more comfort than did women in engaging in these behaviors, and both sexes overestimated the other gender's comfort with hooking up behaviors. Pluralistic ignorance appears to apply to hooking up on college campuses, and we explore some potential consequences of pluralistic ignorance in this context.

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Authors

  • Tracy A. Lambert

  • Arnold S. Kahn

  • Kevin J. Apple

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