Term of Award

Summer 2023

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

Ty Boyer

Committee Member 1

Jonathan Friedel

Committee Member 2

Amy Hackney

Committee Member 3

Dorthie Cross

Committee Member 3 Email



The definition of sexual violence has changed over the years to include all unconsented sexual contact. Sexual violence is a global issue targeting young, college-aged adults. We used hypothetical scenarios to determine the discounting rates of participants in situations where sexual violence might occur. Undergraduate students (n = 146; mean age 20.18 years) from Georgia Southern University participated in our study. The sample of participants included 116 (79.45%) females and 30 (20.55%) males, identifying as White (n = 85; 58.22%), Hispanic (n = 5; 3.42%), Black (n = 28; 19.18%), Asian (n = 1; .68%), or biracial (n = 27; 18.49%). We hypothesized that participants would choose to leave situations and disengage with the potential offender as sexual violence becomes more likely. We also predicted that participants would choose to remain in these situations and continue to engage with the potential offender as sexual violence becomes less likely. The discounting curves showed participants behaved safer as the likelihood of sexual violence decreased. Correlation coefficients detected that the decisions participants made in one scenario related to how participants behaved in all other scenarios. The analyses supported our hypotheses, indicating participants behaved relatively safely as the perceived likelihood of sexual violence occurring increased. Our study raises concerns to improve scenarios and collect data from more diverse populations. Participants behaved more safely as the likelihood of sexual violence increased, indicating discounting can be used to measure decision making related to sexual violence.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material