Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access




Brent Mattingly

Committee Member

Brent Mattingly

Committee Member

Terry Winegar

Committee Member

Scott Deacle

Department Chair

Brent Mattingly

Project Description

Pluralistic ignorance occurs when most individuals believe their attitudes are discrepant from the majority group’s attitude. Previous studies have demonstrated this effect in various situations such as alcohol use (Miller & McFarland, 1987), casual sex (Lambert, Kahn, & Apple, 2003), and other health risk behaviors (Hines, Saris, & Throckmorton-Belzer, 2002). Further, prior research has indicated that misperceiving group norms may lead to shifts in one’s own privately held beliefs (Prentice & Miller, 1993). The current study examines pluralistic ignorance in the context of hook-up culture using a longitudinal design, and extends the previous findings by proposing two possible moderators: sociosexual orientation, which is how comfortable one is with uncommitted sex, and self-concept clarity, which is how confident one is in their beliefs and values. Additionally, this study examines shifts in attitudes on comfortability with hook-ups over time. Further, motivations for hooking up and how sociosexual orientation predicts these motives is examined. Participants were recruited from first year students of Ursinus College, and were asked to respond to questions measuring sociosexual orientation, self-concept clarity, perceived norms, and motivations for hooking up. Participants in Wave 1 were requested to complete a second wave of the study later in the semester. Results of this study reveal that pluralistic ignorance does occur for attitudes on comfortability with hook-ups. Shifts in the perceptions of others’ comfortability with hook-ups occurred. Lastly, individuals more comfortable with uncommitted sex listed motivations for engaging in hook ups, whereas individuals less comfortable with uncommitted sex would not engage in hook-ups.