Term of Award

Summer 2018

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Jessica Brooks

Committee Member 1

Thresa Yancey

Committee Member 2

Lawrence Locker


Sexual assault and alcohol have often been linked together (Abbey et.al, 2004; Collins & Messerschmidt, 1993). Also, 29% of rape victims are between the ages of 12 and 17 (Greenfield, 1997). Research suggests people who are more impulsive are more likely to be sexually aggressive (Mouilso, Calhoun, & Rosenbloom, 2013); however, less is known regarding the underlying mechanisms of the relationship between alcohol and sexual assault of minors. This study addressed this knowledge gap by (1) examining the effects of alcohol priming on attractiveness ratings and age perception of individuals who could be perceived as adolescent, and (2) investigating the role various facets of impulsivity play in the relationships between alcohol priming and age perception and attractiveness, respectively. A total of 97 participants, a majority being female (64.9%), freshman (58.8%), and under the age of 20 (94.8%), completed the study. Participants were assigned to one of three conditions (alcohol prime, mood prime, or no prime) and completed a variety of questionnaires and a visual facial rating task following a priming task. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance revealed no significant differences between conditions on measures of age perception and attractiveness following alcohol priming. Furthermore, moderation analyses revealed nonsignificant findings between impulsivity and attraction, and impulsivity and perceived age; thus, alcohol priming was not a moderator in either analysis. These results suggest alcohol priming does not influence people’s perceptions of age and attractiveness levels; however, more research is needed across diverse populations to further our understanding of the roles alcohol, impulsivity, and attraction play in sexual assault of minors.

Research Data and Supplementary Material