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Habituation of deviant sexual arousal in sex offenders: The role of cognitive processes

Palk, Gavan R. & O'Gorman, John (2004) Habituation of deviant sexual arousal in sex offenders: The role of cognitive processes. International Journal of Forensic Psychology, 1(2), pp. 58-70.

Abstract

Habituation of sexual arousal to deviant fantasy in a sample of sex offenders was examined. In addition self-reports of attentional and affective states were monitored to observe if changes in these states parallelled shifts in sexual arousal. Eight male sex offenders were presented with a constant deviant erotic fantasy described on audiotape. The same fantasy (habituation stimulus) was presented for 18 trials within a session followed by a different fantasy (novel stimulation) and then the habituation stimulus was presented again. Penile tumescence and subjective reports were used to measure sexual arousal. Skin resistance was recorded, as well as self-reports of how vivid the images were and how absorbed participants became in the depicted fantasy. A repeated measures analysis of variance showed that penile tumescence was the only dependent variable to vary significantly across habituation trials. Penile tumescence increased over trials and was higher at the end of the series than at the beginning. Attentional and affective responses did not change significantly or parallel the shifts in penile tumescence across the 18 trials of repeated stimulation. There were no increases in penile tumescence during novel stimulation or following the reintroduction of the original fantasy. These results contrast with those reported by Kounkounas and Over (1993) for nonoffenders of decreases rather than increases in sexual arousal paralleled by shifts in attentional and affective states. The discrepant findings are discussed with reference to the role of cognitive processes and the possibility that there are fundamental differences in the way sex offenders and nonoffenders process the information in erotic fantasy.

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ID Code: 6888
Item Type: Journal Article
Additional URLs:
Keywords: habituation, sex offenders
ISSN: 1448-4374
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Educational Psychology (170103)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Psychology not elsewhere classified (170199)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2004 (please consult author)
Copyright Statement: The contents of this journal can be freely accessed online via the journal’s web page (see link).
Deposited On: 05 Apr 2007
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 23:06

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