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

Keown, Kirsten and 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, 14 (4). pp. 317-337. ISSN 1068-316X. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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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.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: child sexual offenders; child molesters; beliefs; cognition; cognitive distortions; lexical decision task
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Applied Psychology
Depositing User: Theresa Gannon
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2009 11:10
Last Modified: 07 May 2014 13:09
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/15165 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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