Social-Cognitive Sexual Scripts: Measuring the Sexual Scripts of Heterosexual Men

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology and Special Education

Date of Award

Spring 2019


Inspired by the theoretical advances of Gagnon and Simon's (1973) sexual script theory,the present research aimed to understand sexual scripts in terms of human cognition andmemory. Following the methodological work of Rose and Frieze (1989, 1993), which measuredfirst date scripts utilizing cognitive script measurements, the sexual experiences and memories ofheterosexual men was explored. Three studies were conducted with heterosexual men tounderstand how sexual knowledge is represented in memory. Study 1 (n = 211) was based on thework by Barsalou and Sewell (1985) and tested the hypothesis that sexual knowledge wasrepresented in the mind as a sequential script, rather than a static category. Study 2 (n = 90)replicated and extended the work by Galambos (1983) to understand the structure of the sexualscript in terms of the sequential, central, standard, and distinct details of the script. Lastly, Study3 (n = 35) replicated the findings of Bower et al. (1979) to understand the false-memory effectsof incomplete scripts. This work was aimed to be a launching point for future research aimed atunderstanding the social-cognitive aspect of human sexuality.


Stephen Reysen

Subject Categories

Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences