Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Steven J. Scher


Previous research has suggested that there may be a connection between the cannibalism taboo and sexual attraction. Specifically, it appears that when forced to choose someone to cannibalize, people choose victims in a pattern that mimics who they would choose to be sexually intimate with. To confirm and explore this relationship, the current study measured sexual orientation and examined whether participants' preferences in who to cannibalize if forced reflected their desired sexual partner. Participants recruited from Amazon Turk responded to forced pair choices regarding either desired sexual partner or cannibalism victims. Targets included all combinations of three variables: Physical Appearance (Attractive vs. Unattractive), Age (24 years old vs 80 years old), and gender. Planned contrasts were examined to see if patterns of preference were the same for sexual attraction and cannibalism. Results failed to confirm the connection between sexual attraction and cannibalism. In fact, our results could not provide any evidence that similar mechanisms of disgust were involved in preferences between preferred cannibalism victims and desired sexual partner.

Included in

Psychology Commons