Pornography Research and Public Policy
Dolf Zillmann University of Alabama
In this chapter, we briefly examine how, in recent years, psychological research has been used to derive guidelines for public policy concerning pornography, and to what extent the research may have influenced adopted policies and legislation. We concentrate on procedures that were used to integrate and summarize available research findings for those recommending and/or deciding on policy, as well as on these agents' apparent partialities in extracting information in the necessary process of data reduction. Points of general discontent with these procedures are highlighted, and the ramifications of the discontent of some parties are considered. Finally, we present alternative, potentially superior procedures and discuss their advantages.
Generally speaking, a policy issue is created by citizens who deem particular happenings undesirable for society and who seek their curtailment or elimination. The pornography issue is no exception. A great many citizens took offense at what readily available pornography presents and were concerned about effects on sexual behav