Processing bias for sexual material: the emotional stroop and sexual offenders

Paul Smith, Mitch Waterman

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    65 Citations (Scopus)


    As part of an ongoing research project we examined information-processing biases in forensic and nonforensic participants (n = 10 sex offenders, n = 10 violent offenders, n = 10 nonviolent offenders, and n = 13 undergraduates). A computerised version of the Stroop task demonstrated that offenders convicted of both sexual and violent offences were significantly slower than undergraduates to color-name words relating to sexual offending (with sex offenders demonstrating the greatest interference bias). Furthermore, processing bias was also evident for aggression words in violent offenders and violent sexual offenders but not in non-violent sexual offenders. Specifically, paedophiles convicted of indecent assault presented different response profiles compared to heterosexual rapists. These findings suggest that tests that assess information processing bias for salient material may also prove useful as an assessment tool within forensic populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)163-71
    Number of pages9
    JournalSexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2004


    • Adult
    • Analysis of Variance
    • Attention
    • Cognition
    • Color Perception
    • Emotions
    • England
    • Humans
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Pattern Recognition, Visual
    • Photic Stimulation
    • Psychomotor Performance
    • Reaction Time
    • Sex Offenses
    • Verbal Behavior


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