Effects of different presentation modes and personality variables on recall of information about AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver - Committee Chair


This study was conducted in order to determine the effects of two different videotapes about sexually relevant topics and subjects' level of sex guilt on recall of information. 114 undergraduates were divided into two groups (low and high sex guilt), or LSGs and HSGs, on the basis of their sex guilt scores on the Revised Mosher Guilt Inventory. Subjects were then randomly assigned to one of three conditions: personalized, neutral, and control. One videotape presented information about AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) in a "personalized" format, using self-referent statements (i.e., you). The other videotape was "neutral," the information being given in a more impersonal lecture-type format. Based on past findings that self-reference induces greater coding of information, it was predicted that the personalized group would obtain higher scores on recall tests than the neutral group, and that both would score higher than the controls. In view of past research indicating that HSGs have more difficulty than LSGs retaining sexually relevant information, it was expected that LSGs would remember more information following the videotaped presentations than HSGs. An interaction effect was also expected, such that the difference between levels of sex guilt would be greatest in the personalized condition. This study also examined whether attitudes and behaviors changed following exposure to the presentations. No interaction between conditions and levels of sex guilt emerged as significant during the course of this study. Contrary to prediction, the personalized and neutral presentations did not generally differ from each other in their effects. LSGs did not remember overall more information than HSGs, though there was a significant difference between these subjects in the personalized condition. More LSGs reported being sexually active, and more frequently, than HSGs. LSGs were also more likely to report being concerned about contracting AIDS and STD than HSGs. There was no difference among subjects in their reported intention to use protective measures against AIDS and STD, but LSGs reported using condoms as a precaution at a three-week post test. Implications for sex educators and suggestions for future studies were discussed.


Psychology, General

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