421-440 of 547 Results

Article

Retirement  

Mo Wang and Valeria Alterman

Retirement, defined as an individual’s exit from the workforce, is usually accompanied by a behavioral withdrawal from work. While retirement was seen as a crisis in the past, it now stands as an opportunity for individuals to engage in different types of work (e.g., bridge employment), and to dedicate more time in their community with friends and family. Cross-national studies have been conducted to clarify the impact of preparedness on the temporal process of retirement: decisions, transition, and adjustment to retirement. Nevertheless, societies are constantly changing and future research, with the frameworks discussed in this chapter in mind, can continue investigating the concepts of retirement to help individuals prepare better.

Article

A Review and Reappraisal of the Default Network in Normal Aging and Dementia  

Jessica R. Andrews-Hanna, Matthew D. Grilli, and Muireann Irish

The brain’s default network (DN) has received considerable interest in the context of so-called “normal” and pathological aging. Findings have generally been couched in support of a pessimistic view of brain aging, marked by substantial loss of structural brain integrity accompanied by a host of impairments in brain and cognitive function. A critical look at the literature, however, reveals that the standard loss of integrity, loss of function (LILF) view in normal aging may not necessarily hold with respect to the DN and the internally guided functions it supports. Many internally guided processes subserved by the DN are preserved or enhanced in cognitively healthy older adults. Moreover, differences in motivational, contextual, and physiological factors between young and older adults likely influence the extant neuroimaging and cognitive findings. Accordingly, normal aging can be viewed as a series of possibly adaptive cognitive and DN-related alterations that bolster cognitive function and promote socioemotional well-being and stability in a stage of life noted for change. On the other hand, the available evidence reveals strong support for the LILF view of the DN in neurodegenerative disorders, whereby syndromes such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and semantic dementia (SD), characterized by progressive atrophy to distinct DN subsystems, display distinct aberrations in autobiographical and semantic cognition. Taken together, these findings call for more naturalistic, age-appropriate, and longitudinal paradigms when investigating neurocognitive changes in aging and to adequately assess and control for differences in non-neural factors that may obscure “true” effects of normal and pathological aging. A shift in the framework with which age-related alterations in internally guided cognition are interpreted may shed important light on the neurocognitive mechanisms differentiating healthy and pathological aging, leading to a more complete picture of the aging brain in all its complexity.

Article

The Role of Mental Processes in Elite Sports Performance  

Joan N. Vickers and A. Mark Williams

Considerable debate has arisen about whether brain activity in elite athletes is characterized by an overall quieting, or neural efficiency in brain processes, or whether elite performance is characterized by activation of two simultaneous networks. One network exercises cognitive control using increased theta activation of premotor and cingulate gyrus, whereas the second reduces alpha activation in an inhibitory network that prevents the intrusion of debilitating thoughts emanating from the temporal lobe and other areas. Also, there is controversy about how a long-duration “quiet eye” (QE) can fit within a single efficient neural system, or whether a dual system where both increased cognitive control and reduced inhibitory processes has advantages. The literature on neural efficiency, the QE, and theta cognitive control, suggest that a long-duration QE promotes both an increase in theta band activation of the medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate and reduced activation and inhibition of the temporal regions during high-pressure situations when a high level of focused, cognitive control is essential.

Article

The Roles of Psychological Stress, Physical Activity, and Dietary Modifications on Cardiovascular Health Implications  

Chun-Jung Huang, Matthew J. McAllister, and Aaron L. Slusher

Psychological stress disorders, such as depression and chronic anxiety contribute to increased risk of cardiovascular disease and mortality. Acute psychological and physical stress exacerbate the activity of sympathetic-adrenal-medullary system, resulting in the elevation of cardiovascular responses (i.e., heart rate and blood pressure), along with augmented inflammation and oxidative stress as major causes of endothelial and metabolic dysfunction. The potential health benefits of regular physical activity mitigate excessive inflammation and oxidative stress. Along with physical exercise, complementary interventions, such as dietary modification are needed to enhance exercise effectiveness in improving these outcomes. Specifically, dietary modification reduces sympathetic nervous system activity, improve mitochondrial redox function, and minimize oxidative stress as well as chronic inflammation.

Article

Safety at Work  

Gudela Grote

Psychological research on safety at work aims at understanding people’s attitudes and behaviors in relation to hazards for their own and others’ health and well-being. Important safety-related behaviors are safety compliance and safety participation, which address rule-following and proactive safety improvements. These behaviors are influenced by individual cognitive and motivational processes as well as team processes, such as coordination and communication. Relevant antecedents of these processes are characteristics of the job (e.g., job demands), the individual (e.g., risk propensity), the team (e.g., leadership), and the organization (e.g., organizational culture). How individuals and teams are supported in adequately handling hazards also depends on the safety management systems set up in their organizations. Important components of such management systems are, for instance, safety training and incident reporting and investigation. Interventions aimed at improving safety always have to consider cultural factors in the organization, which impact attitudes toward risk and uncertainty.

Article

Scene Perception and Understanding  

Michelle R. Greene

A visual scene is a visual depiction of a real-world environment that supports human activity. The human visual system has evolved through viewing scenes, so studying scene perception allows researchers to understand how the visual system responds to the stimuli it was optimized for. Visual cognition research has established that scenes form a natural kind that is separate from both object recognition and event cognition. Visual scenes have their own category structure as well as unique neural substrates. Visual scene understanding is highly contextual, and observers use regularities among objects and between objects and scenes to leverage scene and object recognition and visual search. In this way, scene understanding forms an interface between pure visual processing and other cognitive processes. A hallmark of human scene understanding is that it can be performed incredibly rapidly—scenes can be easily understood with tens of milliseconds of exposure, even when masked, and neural correlates of scene understanding emerge before 250 ms after stimulus onset. Memory for visual scenes, though outstanding, is biased toward expanding scene representations in space and time. In all, scene understanding is a core component of human cognition that forms an interface between the mind and the world.

Article

Schema Therapy With Older Adults  

A.C. Videler

Schema therapy has evolved since the late 1980s as an efficacious and increasingly widely used psychotherapeutic treatment for personality disorders and many other complex disorders that correlate with underlying maladaptive schemas. Only recently, attention among clinical geropsychologists has been growing for the application of schema therapy in older adults. Schema therapy is very feasible for both therapists and older patients. Schema therapy is an integrative psychotherapy, which draws on the cognitive-behavioral, attachment, psychodynamic, and emotion-focused traditions. In this treatment model, early maladaptive schemas are considered core elements of persistent and pervasive psychopathology, including personality disorders. The goal of treatment is to decrease the impact of maladaptive schemas and to replace negative coping responses and maladaptive schema modes with more healthy alternatives so that patients succeed in getting their core emotional needs met. The emerging attention for schema therapy in older adults is in line with the increased attention for personality disorders in later life, and also with the maturing field of psychotherapy for older adults. The first scientific evidence for the feasibility and the effectiveness of schema therapy has recently been shown. Despite these developments, much work is still to be done. The question is whether schema theory, which was developed for adults in young and middle adulthood, equally applies to those in later life. Although the first tests of effectiveness of schema therapy in older adults are encouraging, age-specific adaptations of existing therapy protocols, both for individual and group schema therapy, are wanted. Furthermore, the research that has been conducted so far has focused on the young-old. Especially for the growing and highly complex group of oldest-old patients, the development of feasible and effective schema-based interventions is needed. Integrating age-specific moderators for change, such as wisdom enhancement, attitudes to aging, and integrating the action of positive schemas, deserves recommendation.

Article

Schools and Approaches to Psychotherapy  

Kathleen Someah, Christopher Edwards, and Larry E. Beutler

There are many approaches to psychotherapy, commonly called “schools” or “theories.” These schools range from psychoanalytic, to variations of insight- and conflict-based approaches, through behavioral and cognitive behavioral approaches, to humanistic/existential approaches, and finally to integrative and eclectic approaches. Different and seemingly new approaches typically have been informed by older and more established ones. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), one of the more widely used approaches, evolved from traditional behavior therapy but has become sufficiently distinct by adding its own complex variations so as functionally to represent an approach of its own. New approaches abound both in number and in complexity. Modern clinicians have had to become increasingly widely read and creative in trying to understand the ways in which patients may be helped. The sheer number of approaches, which has climbed into the hundreds, has challenged the field to find ways of ensuring that the treatments presented are effective. The advent of Evidence Based Practices (EBP) throughout the healthcare fields has placed the responsibility on those who advocate for particular types of treatment scientifically to demonstrate their efficacy and effectiveness. While this movement has brought standards to the field and has offered some assurance that psychotherapy is usually helpful, there remains much debate about whether the many different schools produce different results from one another. The debate about how best to optimize positive effects of psychotherapy continues, and there remain many questions to be asked of psychotherapy theories and of research on these approaches.

Article

Scientific Racism and North American Psychology  

Andrew S. Winston

The use of psychological concepts and data to promote ideas of an enduring racial hierarchy dates from the late 1800s and has continued to the present. The history of scientific racism in psychology is intertwined with broader debates, anxieties, and political issues in American society. With the rise of intelligence testing, joined with ideas of eugenic progress and dysgenic reproduction, psychological concepts and data came to play an important role in naturalizing racial inequality. Although racial comparisons were not the primary concern of most early mental testing, results were employed to justify beliefs regarding Black “educability” and the dangers of Southern and Eastern European immigration. Mainstream American psychology became increasingly liberal and anti-racist in the late 1930s and after World War II. However, scientific racism did not disappear and underwent renewal during the civil rights era and again during the 1970s and 1990s, Intelligence test scores were a primary weapon in attempts to preserve segregated schools and later to justify economic inequality. In the case of Henry Garrett, Arthur Jensen, and Philippe Rushton, their work included active, public promotion of their ideas of enduring racial differences, and involvement with publications and groups under control of racial extremists and neo-Nazis. Despite 100 years of strong critiques of scientific racism, a small but active group of psychologists helped revive vicious 19th-century claims regarding Black intelligence, brain size, morality, criminality, and sexuality, presented as detached scientific facts. These new claims were used in popular campaigns that aimed to eliminate government programs, promote racial separation, and increase immigration restriction. This troubling history raises important ethical questions for the discipline.

Article

Scientific Studies of Dreams and Dreaming in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries  

Giorgia Morgese

In the second half of the 19th century, the study of the phenomenon of the dream was undertaken with “scientific” method, by physicians, physiologists, and psychiatrists before the birth of the “myth” advanced by Freud who claimed for psychoanalysis the birthright of the psychological study of dreams. The article highlights the long and varied process of obtaining scientific knowledge of dreams and the dreaming process, and sheds light on researchers and traditions that have not received as much attention as they should have.

Article

Self and Identity  

Sanaz Talaifar and William Swann

Active and stored mental representations of the self include both global and specific qualities as well as conscious and nonconscious qualities. Semantic and episodic memory both contribute to a self that is not a unitary construct comprising only the individual as he or she is now, but also past and possible selves. Self-knowledge may overlap more or less with others’ views of the self. Furthermore, mental representations of the self vary whether they are positive or negative, important, certain, and stable. The origins of the self are also manifold and can be considered from developmental, biological, intrapsychic, and interpersonal perspectives. The self is connected to core motives (e.g., coherence, agency, and communion) and is manifested in the form of both personal identities and social identities. Finally, just as the self is a product of proximal and distal social forces, it is also an agent that actively shapes its environment.

Article

Self-Awareness and Self-Knowledge  

Mark Alicke, Yiyue Zhang, and Nicole Stephenson

Research has explored the relationship between self-knowledge and self-awareness. Specifically, psychologists see self-awareness as a step on the path toward self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is not a monolithic concept. For instance, the working self-concept is the self that is most relevant and accessible at a given time, while the global self-concept is an enduring, stored version of oneself. Implicit self-views are normally unconscious, whereas explicit self-views are generally conscious. The discrepancy between implicit and explicit self-knowledge sometimes results in inaccurate evaluations of attitudes, thoughts, and feelings. Other types of self-knowledge are context-dependent. Established theories such as social identity theory state that people have distinct self-views in different situations. For example, self-complexity refers to the number of self-aspects a person possesses. Finally, there are also distinctions between accurate (i.e., self-assessment theory) and positive self-knowledge (i.e., self-enhancement theory). Self-assessment theory posits that people are information seekers who desire accurate self-views. On the contrary, self-enhancement theory says that people seek to maintain positive self-views and are averse to negative self-information. Depending on the context and the concerns for self-presentation, individuals have preferences to pursue accurate or enhancing self-information. Increased self-knowledge can manifest in three major ways: via biological, interpersonal, and intrapsychic origins. Biological explanations of the origins of self-knowledge are mostly concerned with genetic expressions and brain activities. Interpersonal paths also help individuals develop self-knowledge. For instance, social comparison facilitates people’s formation of self-views by comparing themselves with similar others. Reflected appraisals increase people’s awareness of their own abilities, qualities, and identities through others’ lens. Intrapsychic self-knowledge can be obtained through self-perception, in which people learn about themselves by observing and analyzing their behaviors in relevant situations. Introspection—focusing on the self—helps people ascertain the reasons behind their feelings and behaviors, which contributes to self-views. However, introspection can sometimes lead to flawed self-knowledge, or result in negative feelings induced by the feelings of inadequacy. Building on introspection, self-awareness provides another avenue for self-knowledge. The capacity to be aware of one’s existence, or reflexive self-consciousness, is a fundamental component of human cognition. Experimentally induced self-awareness has been shown to have positive effects (e.g., greater compliance with internal standards). Sometimes, however, awareness can have aversive consequences (e.g., suicide) because it reveals that one has fallen short of one’s goals. One way to reduce this discomfort is to avoid self-awareness, such as by cognitive deconstruction—an induction of a cognitive state that lacks emotion, a sense of the future, or concentration on the present. Another way to avoid self-awareness is through deindividuation, which is characterized by a temporary loss of personal identity, especially in a large group. Because self-awareness is associated with both life- and death-related thoughts, researchers argue the nature of this awareness is existential.

Article

Self-Determination Theory and Its Relation to Organizations  

Anja H. Olafsen and Edward L. Deci

Self-determination theory (SDT) is a macro theory of human motivation that utilizes concepts essential for organizational psychology. Among the concepts are types and quality of motivation and basic (i.e., innate and universal) psychological needs. Further, the theory has specified social-environmental factors that affect both the satisfaction versus frustration of the basic psychological needs and the types of motivation. The social-environmental factors concern ways in which colleagues, employees’ immediate supervisors, and their higher-level managers create workplace conditions that are important determinants of the employees’ motivation, performance, and wellness. In addition, SDT highlights individual differences that also influence the degrees of basic need satisfaction and the types of motivation that the employees display. This theoretical framework has gained increasingly attention within the context of work the last 15 years, showcasing the importance of basic psychological needs and type of work motivation in explaining the relation from workplace factors to work behaviors, work attitudes and occupational health.

Article

Self-Discrepancy and Regulatory Focus  

E. Tory Higgins and Emily Nakkawita

Self-discrepancy theory and regulatory focus theory are two related motivational theories. Self-discrepancy theory describes the associations between self and affect, positing that the relations among different sets of self-concepts influence a person’s emotional experience. A discrepancy between a person’s ideal self-guide (e.g., hopes and aspirations) and his or her actual self-concept produces dejection-related emotions (e.g., sadness), whereas a discrepancy between a person’s ought self-guide (e.g., duties and obligations) and his or her actual self-concept produces agitation-related emotions (e.g., anxiety). The intensity of these emotional experiences depends upon the magnitude and accessibility of the associated discrepancy. Regulatory focus theory builds on self-discrepancy theory, positing that distinct self-regulatory systems are reflected in the two types of self-guides proposed in self-discrepancy theory. The promotion system is motivated by ideal end-states, by pursuing hopes and aspirations; as a result, it is primarily concerned with the presence or absence of positive outcomes—with gains and non-gains. Given this focus on gains and non-gains, the promotion system is motivated by fundamental needs for nurturance and growth. In contrast, the prevention system is motivated by ought end-states, by fulfilling duties and obligations; as a result, it is primarily concerned with the presence or absence of negative outcomes—with losses and non-losses. Given this focus on losses and non-losses, the prevention system is motivated by fundamental needs for safety and security. The promotion and prevention systems predict a range of important variables relating to cognition, performance, and decision-making.

Article

Self-Esteem and Self-Enhancement  

Zachary P. Hohman and Joshua K. Brown

Self-esteem and self-enhancement are two critical phenomena that play major roles in social psychological theory and research. Everyone has an idea what self-esteem is; however, from an empirical standpoint, what exactly is self-esteem is hotly debated. The unidimensional definition of self-esteem defines it as a global assessment of one’s worth, with greater self-esteem being associated with greater self-worth. Whereas the multidimensional view of self-esteem defines self-esteem as a ratio of competences and worthiness. Furthermore, self-esteem can be broken down into different types: trait self-esteem is a stable view of the self that does not fluctuate much from day to day; state self-esteem is a more transitory view of the self that fluctuates from day to day; and domain-specific self-esteem relies on decisions we make about ourselves or self-evaluations about how we perform in specific situations. Regardless of type, there is an overall belief that humans have an innate need for high self-esteem and that they are particularly attuned to situations that may threaten this. When self-esteem is threatened, people enact behaviors aimed at increasing it: this is called self-enhancement. The idea that people are driven to self-enhance has become a popular topic in psychology and is found in some of the field’s most influential theories. For example, self-determination theory (SDT) examines both interpersonal and intrapersonal aspects of self-esteem and self-enhancement. Terror management theory (TMT) explains why human beings need self-esteem and how they self-enhance. Sociometer theory is concerned with understanding how self-esteem developed in humanity’s past and how it affects self-enhancement in the present. Finally, self-affirmation theory focuses on how people try to self-enhance after their self-integrity has been threatened.

Article

Self-Motives  

Aiden P. Gregg

All normal adult human beings possess a self and an identity. Their evolutionary emergence may be partly understood as the result of humans developing several sophisticated cognitive capacities. But having emerged, self and identity now serve as objects of keen motivational concern. Accordingly, various motives relating to self and identity have been conceptualized, theorized, and researched. These include four self-evaluation motives (SEMs; self-enhancement, self-assessment, self-verification, and self-improvement), six identity motives (IMs; self-esteem, continuity, distinctiveness, belongingness, efficacy, and meaning), and three fundamental needs (FNs; efficacy, autonomy, and relatedness). Some of these self-motives represent very general self-appraisals that people strive for, while others represent more specific preconditions for thriving psychologically, and there is some overlap. The motive to rationally self-assess (discover the truth about oneself) has obvious pragmatic utility. But it competes with the motives to irrationally self-enhance (discover good things about oneself) and to irrationally self-verify (confirm preconceptions about oneself), whose utility is complex and debated. A more active, but also reality-oriented, motive to self-improve (make oneself better) supplements them. Much research on these SEMs addresses the extent to which, and the conditions under which, one motive prevails over another, with the potency of each being occasionally subject to radical skepticism. Controversies also abound over the criteria for validly inferring the operation of SEMs, as many purported measures are dogged by nonmotivational confounds. As regards IMs and FNs, these deal with more domain-specific strivings, such as preserving a sense of who one is over time, or taking charge of one’s own destiny. Most may be tentatively classified into three categories of strivings: to have an impact on the world (agency), to make sense of the world (coherence), or to relate to others in the world (communion). In human beings, all such strivings are intimately intertwined with self and identity. Moreover, the fact such motives and needs exist, and durably operate, points to them serving some important adaptive function. Much applied research accordingly indicates that satisfying them promotes better psychological health and occupational performance. For SEMs, however, a more nuanced picture emerges. In particular, when people successfully self-enhance (i.e., have high self-esteem), they feel subjectively better, and self-report many benefits, but the evidence for objective advantages is thinner. Moreover, although low self-esteem may impair relationships through self-doubt, people who engage in antisocial behavior generally have high self-esteem. Regardless, the centrality of self and identity to human motivation can scarcely be overestimated. Who we are, compared to who we strive to be, is a key determinant of our well-being, and at least a modest determinant of important life outcomes.

Article

Self-Observation in Psychology  

Donald V. Brown Jr., Karyna Pryiomka, and Joshua W. Clegg

Self-observation, an umbrella term for a number of methods associated with first-order accounts of mental activity (e.g. introspection) and first-person reporting, has been a part of psychology’s investigative procedures since the inception of the discipline. It remains an integral, albeit contested, tool for psychologists to use across essentially every sub-field. In areas such as phenomenology, memory research, psychological assessment, and ethnography, among others, self-observation has been deployed to access information not readily acquired through alternative methods. Other names for introspective methods include self-report, retrospection, inner perception, and self-reflection.

Article

Self-Talk in Sport and Performance  

Judy L. Van Raalte and Andrew Vincent

Self-talk has been studied from the earliest days of research in experimental psychology. In sport psychology, the cognitive revolution of the 1970s led researchers and practitioners to explore the ways in which self-talk affects performance. Recently, a clear definition of self-talk that distinguishes self-talk from related phenomena such as imagery and gestures and describes self-talk has emerged. Self-talk is defined as the expression of a syntactically recognizable internal position in which the sender of the message is also the intended received. Self-talk may be expressed internally or out loud and has expressive, interpretive, and self-regulatory functions. Various categories of self-talk such as self-talk valence, overtness, demands on working memory, and grammatical form have all been explored. In the research literature, both instructional and motivational self-talk have been shown to enhance performance. Negative self-talk increases motivation and performance in some circumstances but is generally detrimental to sport performance. Matching self-talk to the task (e.g., using motivational self-talk for gross motor skills such as power lifting) can be a useful strategy, although findings have been inconsistent, perhaps because many individual sport performances involve diverse sport tasks that include both fine and gross motor skills. Research on athletes’ spontaneous self-talk has lagged behind experimental research due in large part to measurement challenges. Self-talk tends to vary over the course of a contest, and it can be difficult for athletes to accurately recall. Questionnaires have allowed researchers to measure typical or “trait” self-talk. Moment-by-moment or “state” self-talk has been assessed by researchers observing sport competitions. Descriptive Experience Sampling has been used to study self-talk in golf, a sport that has regular breaks in the action. Some researchers have used fMRI and other brain assessment tools to examine brain function and self-talk, but current brain imaging technology does not lend itself to use in sport settings. The introduction of the sport-specific model of self-talk into the literature provides a foundation for ongoing exploration of spontaneous (System 1) self-talk and intentionally used (System 2) self-talk and highlights factors related to self-talk and performance such as individual differences (personal factors) and cultural influences (contextual factors).

Article

Semantic Cognition: Semantic Memory and Semantic Control  

Elizabeth Jefferies and Xiuyi Wang

Semantic processing is a defining feature of human cognition, central not only to language, but also to object recognition, the generation of appropriate actions, and the capacity to use knowledge in reasoning, planning, and problem-solving. Semantic memory refers to our repository of conceptual or factual knowledge about the world. This semantic knowledge base is typically viewed as including “general knowledge” as well as schematic representations of objects and events distilled from multiple experiences and retrieved independently from their original spatial or temporal context. Semantic cognition refers to our ability to flexibly use this knowledge to produce appropriate thoughts and behaviors. Semantic cognition includes at least two interactive components: a long-term store of semantic knowledge and semantic control processes, each supported by a different network. Conceptual representations are organized according to the semantic relationships between items, with different theories proposing different key organizational principles, including sensory versus functional features, domain-specific theory, embodied distributed concepts, and hub-and-spoke theory, in which distributed features are integrated within a heteromodal hub in the anterior temporal lobes. The activity within the network for semantic representation must often be controlled to ensure that the system generates representations and inferences that are suited to the immediate task or context. Semantic control is thought to include both controlled retrieval processes, in which knowledge relevant to the goal or context is accessed in a top-down manner when automatic retrieval is insufficient for the task, and post-retrieval selection to resolve competition between simultaneously active representations. Control of semantic retrieval is supported by a strongly left-lateralized brain network, which partially overlaps with the bilateral network that supports domain-general control, but extends beyond these sites to include regions not typically associated with executive control, including anterior inferior frontal gyrus and posterior middle temporal gyrus. The interaction of semantic control processes with conceptual representations allows meaningful thoughts and behavior to emerge, even when the context requires non-dominant features of the concept to be brought to the fore.

Article

Sexual Health and Sexual Behavior  

Sebastian E. Bartos

Both academic and lay definitions of sex vary. However, definitions generally gravitate around reproduction and the experience of pleasure. Some theoretical approaches, such as psychoanalysis and evolutionary psychology, have positioned sexuality at the center of psychological phenomena. Much research has also linked sex to health and disease. On the one hand, certain sexual thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and identities have been described as pathological. Over time, some of these have been accepted as normal (especially homosexuality), while new forms of pathology have also been proposed (e.g., “porn addiction”). On the other hand, some aspects of sexuality are being researched due to their relevance to public health (e.g., sex education) or to counseling (e.g., assisted reproduction). Sex research has always been controversial, paradoxically receiving both positive attention and disdain. These contradictory social forces have arguably affected both the content and the scientific quality of sex research.