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Call for participants for an MRI study


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#1 Lord Happy Toast

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 01:31 AM

Dr. Nicole Prause of the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque NM (USA) is wanting to include asexuals in the following study:

Title: Self-regulation of approach motivation states
Purpose of Study: This study is designed to examine who and why some people are better able to change their sexual responses than others. Asexuals are of special interest because it is thought that they do not experience sexual arousal as easily or, in some cases, at all, as compared to non-asexuals.

Protocol Summary: This study consists of one visit lasting about 2 hours to the Mind Research Network in Albuquerque, NM. (Travel cannot be reimbursed, but we can help plan to meet with you if you will be in the area.) You will answer a series of questions about your sexual feelings and history on a computer. Next, you will receive instructions for a task that involves viewing a series of sexual and non-sexual films. Then, we will ask you to change into a gown and enter an MRI. During this MRI, we will record responses from your genitals as well using a small device that should cause no discomfort. Afterwards (or if you choose to withdraw before) you will be paid $40. Participation is confidential.

Basic Eligibility Criteria: You must be over age 18 and able to enter an MRI safely.
Contact Phone: (505) 301-2658
Contact Email: nprause@mrn.org
HRRC#: 11-165
Link to ad: www.span-lab.com/ad.pdf


Edit: This has been approved by the PT and admods after communicating with the researcher about ethical issues involved.

#2 5_♦♣

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 02:41 AM

I wish I had a passport. Otherwise, I'd definitely do it.

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#3 Narval

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 02:48 AM

It seems to only be for nonlibidoists, then? In any case, $40 is too little to travel to New Mexico -_-

#4 sinisterporpoise

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 03:05 AM

I'm going to have to agree on this one. $40 is not worth the time and the effort for people who do not live in the area.
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#5 Mr. Shuttershy

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 03:56 AM

I live an hour away, however... I do have some libido. I don't think I'd qualify.
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#6 Narval

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 04:45 AM

I live an hour away, however... I do have some libido. I don't think I'd qualify.



If you're interested you should give em a call, maybe? It's possible that they were mistaken when they wrote "asexual" and either had misgivings about its meaning, and really do want asexuals, or simply meant people with straight up no sex drive.

#7 Mr. Shuttershy

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 04:54 AM


I live an hour away, however... I do have some libido. I don't think I'd qualify.



If you're interested you should give em a call, maybe? It's possible that they were mistaken when they wrote "asexual" and either had misgivings about its meaning, and really do want asexuals, or simply meant people with straight up no sex drive.

This is true; not everyone knows aces can have libidos. : 3 I'll e-mail 'em.
I suppose its hard to feel a minority if your personal majority is majorly minorities.

#8 sinisterporpoise

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 04:46 PM

Asexuals are of special interest because it is thought that they do not experience sexual arousal as easily or, in some cases, at all, as compared to non-asexuals.


Is there any evidence to support this assertion?
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#9 Lord Happy Toast

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 05:19 PM

I assume that what she has in mind is Asexuality: Classification and Characterization by Nicole Prause and Cynthia Graham. From the abstract:

...A convenience sample of 1,146 individuals (N = 41 self-identified asexual) completed online questionnaires assessing sexual history, sexual inhibition and excitation, sexual desire, and an open-response questionnaire concerning asexual identity. Asexuals reported significantly less desire for sex with a partner, lower sexual arousability, and lower sexual excitation but did not differ consistently from non-asexuals in their sexual inhibition scores or their desire to masturbate...



#10 Faelights

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 06:54 PM


Asexuals are of special interest because it is thought that they do not experience sexual arousal as easily or, in some cases, at all, as compared to non-asexuals.


Is there any evidence to support this assertion?

I presumed this study is to determine whether or not this hypothesis has any merit.

#11 Sally

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 07:49 PM

I assume that what she has in mind is Asexuality: Classification and Characterization by Nicole Prause and Cynthia Graham. From the abstract:

...A convenience sample of 1,146 individuals (N = 41 self-identified asexual) completed online questionnaires assessing sexual history, sexual inhibition and excitation, sexual desire, and an open-response questionnaire concerning asexual identity. Asexuals reported significantly less desire for sex with a partner, lower sexual arousability, and lower sexual excitation but did not differ consistently from non-asexuals in their sexual inhibition scores or their desire to masturbate...


All of which could be ascribed to feeling no sexual attraction, which needn't have anything to do with libido.

MRIs are not fun; they take about 45 minutes, are very noisy, and extremely claustrophobic. Then having something attached to your genitals...$40 is pretty darn cheap for all that.

I don't have the energy to do PMs.


#12 Nicole Prause

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:46 PM

We are restricted from paying very high rates for reimbursement, because it would be considered coercive. For example, suppose you were in dire financial trouble and saw a study paying $30,000, but there was a 50% chance of losing your left arm. Our ethics boards do not want people to feel like they must participate in something they really would not rather do because of high pay. Unfortunately, we simply do not have the funding at this time to cover travel costs directly either, so this is for people who happen to be in the area.

I'm going to have to agree on this one. $40 is not worth the time and the effort for people who do not live in the area.



#13 Nicole Prause

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:51 PM

Realizing there are a great variety of people who identify as asexuals, we chose to try to recruit those specifically who do not believe they experience sex drive. Our first study, which was more qualitative, examined the question more broadly of whether people who identify as asexual experience a sex drive or not. Experiments are different. We want to try to reduce the variability as much as possible. We realize this refers to only a subset of people who may identify as asexual. So, while that is the group we would recruit and hope to find, our recruitment actually does allow us to include people who have some drive as well. We are always happy to discuss this over the phone if anyone might be potentially interested, but unsure if they "fit". I hope this may help clarify?


I live an hour away, however... I do have some libido. I don't think I'd qualify.



#14 Nicole Prause

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 09:56 PM

Yes, this study is following our original publication in which low or absent desire seemed to be a more common feature in people who identified as asexual as compared to people who did not identify as asexual.

We actually have a difficult time getting people to stay awake in the MRI! It is certainly true, though, that some people will feel claustrophobic and cannot be in an MRI. However, we take a number of stepsto try to make the experience as comfortable as possible. If you are not comfortable, you cannot respond to what we are showing you. If you cannot respond, the data are useless. We try very hard to make the experience as comfortable as possible for both the participant's sake and ours.


I assume that what she has in mind is Asexuality: Classification and Characterization by Nicole Prause and Cynthia Graham. From the abstract:

...A convenience sample of 1,146 individuals (N = 41 self-identified asexual) completed online questionnaires assessing sexual history, sexual inhibition and excitation, sexual desire, and an open-response questionnaire concerning asexual identity. Asexuals reported significantly less desire for sex with a partner, lower sexual arousability, and lower sexual excitation but did not differ consistently from non-asexuals in their sexual inhibition scores or their desire to masturbate...


All of which could be ascribed to feeling no sexual attraction, which needn't have anything to do with libido.

MRIs are not fun; they take about 45 minutes, are very noisy, and extremely claustrophobic. Then having something attached to your genitals...$40 is pretty darn cheap for all that.



#15 Nicole Prause

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:00 PM

Our earlier publication suggested that people who identify as asexual report lower levels of sexual excitation. Research by others suggests that those with lower sexual excitation actually show lower physiological responses in laboratory tests. In part, this study will be examining whether or not this appears to be the case using a technology, fMRI, that can detect changes in the brain even if those do not translate into changes in the genitals. The results should be exciting and informative either way!



Asexuals are of special interest because it is thought that they do not experience sexual arousal as easily or, in some cases, at all, as compared to non-asexuals.


Is there any evidence to support this assertion?

I presumed this study is to determine whether or not this hypothesis has any merit.



#16 Nicole Prause

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Posted 20 January 2012 - 10:03 PM

This is a good summary of our intention! We were hoping to find asexuals without a sex drive. However, we realize the restriction that they must live nearby could make this difficult or impossible. Therefor, we do not screen any volunteers out based on whether or not they have a sex drive.


I live an hour away, however... I do have some libido. I don't think I'd qualify.



If you're interested you should give em a call, maybe? It's possible that they were mistaken when they wrote "asexual" and either had misgivings about its meaning, and really do want asexuals, or simply meant people with straight up no sex drive.



#17 Emiko

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Posted 22 January 2012 - 09:44 AM

Ah, if I only was in the area. Heck, I'd halfway consider a roadtrip just to participate, but $40 wouldn't even cover a ratty hotel for a single night. Oh well, I do wish you luck on your study.
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#18 newbornheart

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:05 PM


I assume that what she has in mind is Asexuality: Classification and Characterization by Nicole Prause and Cynthia Graham. From the abstract:

...A convenience sample of 1,146 individuals (N = 41 self-identified asexual) completed online questionnaires assessing sexual history, sexual inhibition and excitation, sexual desire, and an open-response questionnaire concerning asexual identity. Asexuals reported significantly less desire for sex with a partner, lower sexual arousability, and lower sexual excitation but did not differ consistently from non-asexuals in their sexual inhibition scores or their desire to masturbate...


All of which could be ascribed to feeling no sexual attraction, which needn't have anything to do with libido.

MRIs are not fun; they take about 45 minutes, are very noisy, and extremely claustrophobic. Then having something attached to your genitals...$40 is pretty darn cheap for all that.



no thank you, not my cup of tea but I hope you find your lab rats
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#19 Lord Happy Toast

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 09:12 PM

no thank you, not my cup of tea but I hope you find your lab rats

This study was approved by their university's ethics board, and a major issue of concern for this (or any study) is to make sure that participation is voluntary (and not coerced), that people do not have to participate if they don't want to, and that people can discontinue participation at any time without any kind of retaliation.

#20 Wolfloner

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Posted 25 January 2012 - 08:14 PM

Ah, I wish I could come out there for this. I think it's wonderful that you're doing research like this! If I lived a bit closer I'd come in a heartbeat.

The best of luck to you! Let us know your findings~
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#21 michaeld

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Posted 02 February 2012 - 01:53 AM

Just thought I'd chime in here. This is obviously a very different research project to those we advertise on here routinely. And yet I think it's important asexuals are represented in this type of work. Based on speaking to Nicole, I have every confidence that any volunteers will be treated in a respectful manner, and that the research output will be fair and objective.

We have also advertized this on the Project Team tumblr.
http://avenpt.tumblr...take-part-in-an

Thanks to everyone who has reblogged this so far. If anyone else has a tumblr and can reblog this, that would be enormously helpful. Obviously it's difficult to find someone in the right state, so we need all the help we can get!

#22 Terrie

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 06:52 PM

Dang. I actually live in ABQ, but as a gray-A, it looks like I don't quite qualify.

#23 CompassRose

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Posted 09 March 2012 - 05:19 AM

Dang. I actually live in ABQ, but as a gray-A, it looks like I don't quite qualify.

I've written to the researcher. She was very responsive, and said she is having trouble recruiting enough subjects. I'd encourage you to write her and ask if you qualify, not just assume you don't.
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#24 nprause

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Posted 26 March 2012 - 10:55 PM

Despite also inquiring with many local GLBT groups, we were not able to limit participants to a certain type of asexual (those without sexual desire). Please do contact us if you are interested. We walk you through the qualification criteria and, for the asexual part of it, you are qualified if you report being asexual. Thank you all for your attention to this project to date! We have had a number of people inquire (still have one to contact) and have two MRI scans left for which we need people to volunteer!

#25 Azure.Providence

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 04:15 AM

Bah, too bad I am too far away.

#26 bookcase

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 07:10 AM

Pity I live on the wrong side of the Atlantic! I'd love to participate, even if the setup doesn't sound very comfortable. I'm very excited there is serious research into asexuality; we do have a wealth of self-reports, but little hard data to correlate them with. :)

#27 Mr. Shuttershy

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Posted 10 May 2012 - 01:05 AM

Is it possible to be sedated for the scan, or would that incur costs and ruin the data?
I suppose its hard to feel a minority if your personal majority is majorly minorities.

#28 Lord Happy Toast

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Posted 18 May 2012 - 02:22 PM

Is it possible to be sedated for the scan, or would that incur costs and ruin the data?

With fMRI studies, they measure how your brain responds for one set of stimuli vs. for another set of stimuli, so it wouldn't make sense to do it sedated.

#29 Mr. Shuttershy

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Posted 21 May 2012 - 06:16 PM


Is it possible to be sedated for the scan, or would that incur costs and ruin the data?

With fMRI studies, they measure how your brain responds for one set of stimuli vs. for another set of stimuli, so it wouldn't make sense to do it sedated.

was worth a shot asking -shrug- since I live 30mins away.
I suppose its hard to feel a minority if your personal majority is majorly minorities.




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