Silke Wohlrab, Bernhard Fink, Peter Kappeler and Gayle Brewer

Differences in personality attributions toward tattooed and nontattooed virtual human characters

Journal of Individual Differences

Individuals with body modifications, such as tattoos, have been shown to differ from nonmodified individuals in sensation-seeking personality characteristics and sociosexuality. This study examined possible differences in people’s attributions of those characteristics toward virtual human characters varying in body modification. Some 287 participants rated tattooed and nontattooed bodies of avatars on aspects of sensation seeking and number of previous sexual partners. Tattooed stimuli were rated as more experience, thrill, and adventure seeking as well as more likely to have a high number of previous sexual partners and as less inhibited when compared to nontattooed stimuli, and this was particularly true for male stimuli. It was concluded that people with body modifications, such as tattoos, are perceived differently compared to nontattooed individuals in terms of sensation seeking and previous sexual partner number, this being particularly true for men. Findings are discussed with reference to the evolutionary model of human sexual selection.