New and Noteworthy: Selected Publications

A selection of recent and significant publications from Kinsey Institute researchers, faculty, and staff.

Articles and Books

Crosby, R. A., Graham, C. A., Sanders, S. A., Wheeler, M.V, Vitzthum, V. J., Milhausen,  R. R., Yarber, W. L. (2019). Independent decision-making over condom use during menses to avert sexually transmitted infections. Sexual Health

Findings from 146 countries showed that people exercising independent decision making over condom use during menses do so to avert STI transmission or acquisition. That only one-fifth of this global sample reported this type of independent decision making suggests that empowerment-oriented interventions may be advantageous for individuals who are the receptive partner in penile-vaginal intercourse that occurs during menses.

Gesselman, A.N., Ta, V.P., and Garcia, J.R. (2019). Worth a thousand interpersonal words: Emoji as affective signals for relationship-oriented digital communication. PLoS ONE 14(8): e0221297. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0221297

The ability to effectively express and interpret emotions is more difficult in the modern, tech-heavy age than it was in the past. This study found that participants who used emojis to convey emotional content with a partner or prospective partner went on more dates and had more sexual activity over the year than those who used emojis less. 

Graso, M., Reynolds, T., & Grover, S. (2019). Allegations of mistreatment in an era of harm-avoidance: Taboos, challenges, and implications for management. Academy of Management Perspectives, DOI: 10.5465/amp.2018.0144

The contemporary culture of harm-avoidance sanctifies the role of the victim, which creates a suite of challenges for managers and researchers attempting to address impartially allegations of harm-doing. We maintain that empirical investigations, open discourse, and data-driven understanding of these challenges, even if unpalatable, are necessary to inform the best practices that generate long-term peace, not just short-term safety.

Kenkel, W.M.,Perkeybile, A.M, Yee, J.R., Pournajafi-Nazarloo, H., Lillard, T.S., Ferguson, E.F., Wroblewski, K.L., Ferris, C.F., Carter, C.S. and Connelly, J.J.  (2019). Behavioral and epigenetic consequences of oxytocin treatment at birth. Science Advances, 5(5). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav2244

Despite its widespread use as a medical intervention for laboring mothers, there exists little literature on the long-term effects of maternal oxytocin administration, or exogenous oxytocin administration, on offspring development. This study found that oxytocin exposure has an influence on offspring development through its effect on neuronal activity in oxytocin-sensitive brain regions and social behavior. For example, offspring of oxytocin-treated dams had behavioral differences in terms of increased vocalization, more alloparental care, and less antisocial behavior and increases in oxytocin receptor density in certain brain regions.

Kolacz, J., Kovacic, K., and Porges, S. W. (2019). Traumatic stress and the autonomic brain-gut connection in development: Polyvagal Theory as an integrative framework for psychosocial and gastrointestinal pathology. Developmental Psychobiology. Advance online publication. DOI: 10.1002/dev.21852

A range of psychiatric disorders such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder frequently co-occur with functional gastrointestinal (GI) disorders. Risk of these pathologies is particularly high in those with a history of trauma, abuse, and chronic stress. Using the organizing principles of the Polyvagal Theory, we outline possible mechanisms that promote and maintain socioemotional and GI dysfunction and review their implications for therapeutic targets.

MacLean, E.L., Wilson, S.R., Martin, W.L., Davis, J.M., Nazarloo, H.P. and Carter, C.S. (2019). Challenges for measuring oxytocin: the blind men and the elephant? Psychoneuroendocrinology, 107: 225-231. DOI: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2019.05.018

Oxytocin is a powerful neurotransmitter and hormone known for its regulation of and involvement in childbirth, social bonding, and attraction. DThe effort to develop reliable and valid measurement techniques, or a method to consolidate the measurement results of various techniques, is central to obtaining an accurate and complete view of oxytocin.

Porges, S.W., Davila, M.I., Lewis, G.F., Kołacz, J., Okonmah-Obazee, S., Hane, A.A.,  Kwon, K.Y., Ludwig, R.J., Myers, M.M., and Welch, M.G. (2019). Autonomic regulation of preterm infants is enhanced by Family Nurture Intervention. Developmental Pyschobiology, 61(6): 942-952. DOI: 10.1002/dev.21841

Preterm infants commonly have an increased risk of medical problems and morbidities.I n this study, researchers evaluated the effectiveness of receiving FNI over Standard Care (SC) on maturational changes in autonomic regulation in preterm infants. With data analyses, it was found that increases in respiratory sinus arrhythmia were significantly greater in the infant group receiving FNI in comparison to the standard care group. While the exact mechanisms for this maturation are not yet clear, the effect of this intervention show great promise as methods to promote and encourage the autonomic development of preterm infants.

Price, D.M., Gesselman, A.M., and Garcia, J.R. (2019). Single Bisexual Men’s and Women’s Perceptions of Acceptance in the LGBTQ Community. Journal of Homosexuality, DOI: 10.1080/00918369.2019.1618645

Understanding how bisexual individuals percieve their level of social support and connectivity is important to supporting the unique needs of bisexual people in various settings. It was found that the majority of bisexual respondents reported feeling accepted by the LGBTQ community, as well as that the LGBTQ community is a supportive environment to be connected. In the eyes of gay men and lesbian women, it was similarly reported and commonly percieved that bisexual men and women are accepted by the LGBTQ community, although it was significantly lower than the acceptance of gay men and lesbian women themselves.

Selterman, D., Gesselman, A.N., and Moors, A.C. (2019). Sexuality through the lens of secure base dynamics: Individual differences in Sexploration. Personality and Individual Differences, 147: 229-236. DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2019.04.049

Healthy relationships are most often based on the construction of supportive, safe, and sex-positive environments that allows for the expression of sexually intimate behaviors. This can be summed up with the use of new terminology--the concept of sexpolration. Effective sexploration is based on the attachment system that forms as a result of emotionally significant interactions, such as that between parents and children.

Yarber, W. L. (2019). Human Sexuality: Diversity in Contemporary Society. 10th edition, New York: McGraw-Hill Education.

A new edition of the tremendously popular textbook, widely used in college human sexuality courses.

In the Research Blog

Kinsey Institute Interview Series: A Conversation with Dr. Kristen Mark
An IU graduate, Dr. Mark studies women's sexual health, sexual desire, and directs the Sexual Health Promotion Lab at UK.

Most Of Us Have A Romantic 'Type'
Studies revealed similarities in both personality and physical traits among participants current and former partners - suggesting we do indeed seek out a type in our romantic relationships.

Why Do Some Identical Twins Have Different Sexual Orientations?
Recent research suggests epigenetic factors - how our genes interact with our environment - may be at work, including different levels of hormones in the placenta, or differing responses to the same hormone.

How Smartphone Battery Levels Affect Hookup Decisions
Participants were shown a short series of sexts, then asked how likely they would be to hook up with that person, while researchers manipulated a screenshot of their available phone battery life.

Do Porn Users Seek Out More Extreme Content Over Time?
Media coverage of porn use comparing it to drug use assumes a tolerance that builds up over time and leads to more extreme content. A recent 6-month study found that porn use remained stable over time, and participants’ interest in extreme content decreased instead.


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