Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Who Is Distorted?

March 2006, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 5

Do child molesters hold distorted beliefs? What does their memory recall tell us?


Do child molesters hold distorted beliefs (or cognitive distortions) that support their sexual offending? To test this hypothesis, we asked 28 child molesters and 20 inmate controls to read a description of child molestation. Within this vignette, we planted 10 ambiguous descriptions. If child molesters’ information processing were driven by cognitive distortions, we hypothesized that they would use this knowledge to disambiguate and cognitively distort each description.

This was tested by examining participants’ free recall of the vignette. Chi-square tests of association showed that both child molesters and inmate controls had various memory distortions for the vignette, but could not be differentiated based on the numbers of cognitive distortions in their recall classifications.

In other words, our findings did not support the widely held cognitive distortion hypothesis a finding which could promote substantial revision of both how we view child molesters’ ‘‘cognitive distortions’’, and how we treat them."

Journal of Sexual Aggression"



Wednesday, 1 January, 2014

Cognitive ‘distortions’ and dissonance

"Such dangerously heretical thoughts nowhere find overt expression in the paper, but the exercise must have sown confusion. While it demonstrated that MAPs were not shown to think in a cognitively distorted way, it also indicates that the researchers were suffering from another interesting mental condition, cognitive dissonance i.e. psychological conflict when presented with data at odds with one’s beliefs. Given the conservative nature of their starting point, this offers the hope that they may actually be moving forwards a little, as they struggle, perhaps painfully, to accommodate the new information and make a new beginning."



Content Analysis of Cognitive Distortions in Pedophiles' [sic] Online Forum Posts 

"Historically, sexual encounters between adults and children were rarely reported to authorities, and thus considered a rare problem. However, as many as 33% of girls and 14% of boys experience sexual encounters with adults and as a result may experience consequences such as aversive feelings regarding the act of sex, substance abuse, and self-mutilation. Such consequences lead research to examine pedophile’s cognitive distortions.

This exploratory study examined pedophiles’ website forum posts to determine if any posters demonstrated cognitive distortions. Four independent raters used content analysis to determine which cognitive distortions were demonstrated by the examined pedophiles.

Results suggested that cognitive distortions were not prominently demonstrated by those posting on the examined forum. Results may also suggest that cognitive distortions are not evident in a supportive environment. Results cannot be generalized to the entire pedophilic population and future research could analyze posters’ cognitive distortions over a period of time and examine which cognitive distortions have altered over time."


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