Our Projects

Sex Talk

The Sex Talk study explores how millennials conceptualize sex by examining the metaphors used in discuss about sex, sexuality, and relationships. Contemporary research has highlighted changes in the ways young adults sexually identify, their attitudes toward sex and relationships, and their sexual behavior compared to previous generations. These changes may reflect a shift in the ways young people are thinking and reasoning about sex. One way to explore this is by examining the idealized cognitive models they are using.

Investigators: Justin Sitron, Ph.D. and Don Dyson, Ph.D.

Idealized cognitive models (ICMs) are defined as the mental shortcuts people use to describe their experiences; they underpin the way people understand and conceptualize those experiences and relate them to other experiences.  ICMs run outside the scope of conscious thought and are usually flawed in some way, thus idealized, but are considered close enough to the truth by the speaker so they are accepted as truths in the mind through their representation in our speech.  We sought to explore the ICMs of today’s emerging adults, and to consider the impact they may have on how sexuality education and sexual health messaging are developed and implemented.

This project was informed by the following strategies:

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