Promiscuity or positive traits?: investigating effects of a visible tattoo on impressions of women




Oakes, Lisa R.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



The purpose of this study was to improve understanding of ways in which a woman's choice to have a tattoo influences the impressions others form of her. One aim was to examine the extent to which a woman with a visible tattoo (versus without) is viewed as promiscuous in terms of three underlying definitions previously investigated (receptivity, standards, sex drive). Observers' impressions of a target woman's desirability (to male participants), receptivity to uncommitted sex, standards, and sex drive were assessed along with impressions of the target's discrete physical, behavioral, and personality attributes. The line between perceptions of sexuality and promiscuity was explored, examining the extent to which participants viewed the target as promiscuous and the extent to which other views held about her predicted whether or not she was labeled "promiscuous." The threshold at which observers feel it appropriate to call a woman promiscuous was investigated, as along with the behaviors included in participant definitions of the term. Additionally, following up on previous research within this lab that suggested tattoos may influence some perceptions in a positive way, the 13-item Armstrong Team Tattoo Attitude Survey (Armstrong et al., 2002) was used to explore potentially positive effects of tattoos on perceptions. Implications are discussed.


This item is available only to currently enrolled UTSA students, faculty or staff. To download, navigate to Log In in the top right-hand corner of this screen, then select Log in with my UTSA ID.


categorization, impression, promiscuity, stereotype, tattoo, women