Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Pornography has had a varied and interesting history which dates back to antiquity. Its popularity appears not to have diminished in the past 3Q00 years, in fact the recent level of interest in the subject was exemplified when President Lyndon Johnson formed a special committee (Commission on Obscenity and Pornography) in 1967 to study pornography and obscenity. This Commission directly and indirectly initiated many scientific studies in the field of pornography.

Subjective judgments of pornography have been scaled before. The kinds of scaling approaches employed in these scale measurement developments are open to criticism and alternative scaling approaches have been proposed. The purpose of this investigation was to employ some alternative scaling methods in a scaling analysis of' a limited set of pornographic stimuli.

Judges x^ere required to perform four different judgmental tasks— A Thurstonian pair-comparison task, an absolute judgment task, a magnitude estimation task, and a similarity estimation judgmental task. Results indicated that the utilized pornographic stimuli x^ere readily scalable and that the interscale and intrascale reliabilities were high. Further data analyses indicated that certain stimuli could be regarded as clustering together. These stimuli cluster groups were labeled as pornographic, nonpornographic, and transition point. To account for the presently seen transition point, and a phenomenon of pornography in general, an availability hypothesis was formulated.