The Specter of the Specter of Internet Pornography

The dire, horrible, brain-damaging effects of pornography may not exactly exist, suggests this study of a study that insists that yes, those effects do exist. The studies are:

Neuroscience research fails to support claims that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage,” Rory C. Reid, Bruce N. Carpenter, and Timothy W. Fong, Surgical Neurology International, 2011; 2: 64. The authors, at University of California, Los Angeles, and Brigham Young University, explain:

“In their editorial on excessive pornography use, Hilton and Watts [see the citation, below] offer some interesting neuroscience perspectives on their conceptualization of pornography problems as an addictive disorder. They highlight several parallels between dysregulated pornography consumption and other maladaptive behaviors, some of which are viewed as addictions. Although we believe these parallels are worthy of scientific inquiry, Hilton and Watts offered little, if any, convincing evidence to support their perspectives. Instead, excessive liberties and misleading interpretations of neuroscience research are used to assert that excessive pornography consumption causes brain damage. We wish to clarify what the research actually does suggest.”

dr_hiltonPornography addiction: A neuroscience perspective,” Donald L. Hilton, Jr [pictured here] and Clark Watts, Surgical Neurology International, 2011;2:19. The authors are affiliated with the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio,  and the University of Texas School of Law in Austin.

Dr. Hilton earlier wrote a metaphor-packed expose called “Slave Master How Pornography Drugs & Changes Your Brain“, which was unleashed educationally on the readers, if there are any, of Salvo magazine. That same issue of Salvo includes a salvo about a porn star, attributed to the often-excited Dr. Judith Reisman, whose work we have appreciated time and again.

(Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Dan Ariely for bringing this to our attention.)

BONUS: Video of the often-excited Dr. Judith Reisman in conversation with her admirer, Reverend Jerry Falwell: