What were they thinking? An exploration of child sexual offenders' beliefs using a lexical decision task

Keown, Kirsten, Gannon, Theresa A. and Ward, Tony 2008, What were they thinking? An exploration of child sexual offenders' beliefs using a lexical decision task, Psychology, crime & law, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 317-337, doi: 10.1080/10683160701770112.

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Title What were they thinking? An exploration of child sexual offenders' beliefs using a lexical decision task
Author(s) Keown, Kirsten
Gannon, Theresa A.
Ward, Tony
Journal name Psychology, crime & law
Volume number 14
Issue number 4
Start page 317
End page 337
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2008-08
ISSN 1068-316X
Keyword(s) child sexual offenders
child molesters
beliefs
cognition
cognitive distortions
lexical decision task
Summary Cognitive distortions have been afforded a key role in the offending behaviour of child sexual offenders. While the mechanisms underlying cognitive distortions are not fully understood, they are generally thought to reflect entrenched beliefs that distinguish child sexual offenders from other individuals. We investigated this hypothesis using a robust experimental technique called the lexical decision task. Child sexual offenders, offender controls, and non-offender controls completed a lexical decision task in which they responded to words that completed sentences in either an offence-supportive or nonoffence-supportive manner. Contrary to predictions, child sexual offenders did not respond faster to words that were consistent with offence-supportive beliefs, relative to controls. However, they did show accelerated recognition for word stems supporting external locus of control beliefs. These results highlight the need to use cognitive experimental methods to study child sexual offenders' beliefs, and the importance of investigating potential alternative drivers of cognitive distortions.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/10683160701770112
Field of Research 170199 Psychology not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Taylor & Francis
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30034188

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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