Study links election wins with higher Internet porn use

Last Updated: Apr 23, 2011, 10:25 AM IST

Washington: A study has found that while most celebrate a political candidate’s victory with a party, others enjoy the moment by watching Internet porn.

Rutgers-Camden psychologist Charlotte Markey and husband Patrick Markey of Villanova University have suggested that vicarious winning in elections yields a higher usage of Internet porn.

Depending on the party wins in 2004, 2006, and 2008, some members ‘celebrated’ with visits to sultry Internet sites.

The Rutgers-Camden psychologist, who has long studied how popular culture influences behaviour, is curious about how the Internet’s wide proliferation of porn will influence future generations.

"Google trends is a way to get a snap shot of what people are really thinking about," Markey, an associate professor of psychology, said.

"Thirty percent of all content on the Internet is pornography. This sounds absurd for people who don’t go to these sites, but for a large part of the population, that’s what people are doing," she revealed.

A major aspect of this research that continues to fascinate Markey is the link between sexual behaviour and vicarious winning on males.

"Research has shown testosterone levels fluctuate with whether or not one wins in a competition. Even if a man is sitting in a bar and his team wins, his testosterone levels will rise," Markey noted.

While Google trends doesn’t specify gender, it is estimated that 90 percent of porn use is attributed to men.

The researchers chose to focus on U.S. election cycles, studying each state and the District of Columbia the week before and the week after each election, because they could clearly document one winner and one loser at a national level.

"Having access to this technology can be useful for many disciplines, not just psychology," Markey said.

"For a study like this, we could see where people were actually going online, perhaps something participants might not be willing to admit in person, on paper, or even to themselves," she added.

The findings have been published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour.

ANI