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The effects of visual priming on information processing in child sexual offenders

Keown, Kirsten, Gannon, Theresa A. and Ward, Tony 2008, The effects of visual priming on information processing in child sexual offenders, Journal of sexual aggression, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 145-159, doi: 10.1080/13552600802248114.

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Title The effects of visual priming on information processing in child sexual offenders
Author(s) Keown, Kirsten
Gannon, Theresa A.
Ward, Tony
Journal name Journal of sexual aggression
Volume number 14
Issue number 2
Start page 145
End page 159
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2008
ISSN 1355-2600
Keyword(s) child sexual offenders
child molesters
cognitive distortions
information processing
Summary Child sexual offenders are hypothesized to hold offence-supportive beliefs that set them apart from others. The current study seeks support for this view via a cognitive-experimental approach. Child sexual offenders and offender controls were exposed to pictures of semi-clothed children (priming condition) or clothed, mature adults (control condition). Participants then read ambiguous sentences describing children's actions that could be interpreted in a sexualized manner. Next, participants completed a surprise recognition test in which half the sentences were re-presented in an unambiguously sexual form, and half in an unambiguously non-sexual form. Contrary to hypotheses, primed and/or control child sexual offenders did not show a memory bias for sexualized sentences, suggesting that they did not interpret the original sentences in line with offence-supportive beliefs. Results raise questions about whether child sexual offenders universally hold abnormal beliefs that facilitate their offending. Results also highlight the need for further experimental research within this field.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/13552600802248114
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
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Psychology
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