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Does attractiveness influence condom use intentions in heterosexual men? An experimental study
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  • Published on:
    Dubious Noise Mining Used to Denigrate Genuine Medical Research

    I write because this study was cited by a rather offensive opinion piece published on the morning of April 21, 2022 in the Washington Post. While that opinion made no particular argument beyond a rather vague claim that research into hormonal contraceptives for men is without merit on the grounds that men have no interest in contraception, it did cite this study in support of the claim that "men are 'less likely' to wear a condom when they judge a partner to be attractive or in good health." While the relationship between this claim and the rest of the column is tenuous, it seems to me like a fair characterization of the study authors' conclusion.

    However, on reading the study, I have difficulty trusting even that claim. My concern is that this study looks like little more than noise-mining: questionable data with superficial resemblance to the purported research question, hammered with a grab-bag of statistical techniques for significant-seeming results with an arguable relationship to the researchers' conclusion. I should admit here at the outset that I do not have the statistical background to give an in-depth critique of the mathematical analysis of the results. Still, there are certain numerical hallmarks that lead me to question the confidence that any conclusion about men in general can be drawn from these data.

    - First, the sample size in this study is absurdly small. As a rough metric, we can observe some quirks in the d...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Commentary on: Does attractiveness influence condom use intentions in heterosexual men? An experimental study.

    Evan S. Herrmann1, Patrick S. Johnson2, and Matthew W. Johnson3

    1Division on Substance Abuse, New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

    2Department of Psychology, California State University, Chico

    3Behavioral Pharmacology Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.


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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.