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Abstract: Indirect Measures of Pedophilia

Recent research on indirect measures of pedophilic sexual interest complements physiological research. Pedophilic men not only tend to have a different pattern of physiological arousal toward child stimuli but also display an attentional bias in appraising such stimuli. A corresponding processing bias for child stimuli has been demonstrated using various experimental paradigms. These experimental setups differed in the explicitness of stimuli and the ostentatiousness of their demand characteristic. First, the talk will provide an overview of the pertinent studies. Second, the talk will highlight how the strand of research on indirect cognitive measures is in line with theoretical models of deviant sexual arousal. Third, the terrain still uncharted shall become clear: The emotional congruence experienced by many pedophilic men in response to children. Bridging the gap between (cognitive) stimulus appraisal and (physiological) arousal by virtue of the emotional meaning attached to child-related stimuli may provide a leap forward toward understand the etiology of pedophilia.


PD Dr. Andreas Mokros is a research psychologist working at the Department for Forensic Psychiatry of the University Hospital of Psychiatry Zurich, Switzerland. He is also an adjunct senior lecturer (Privatdozent) in the Department of Psychology at the University of Regensburg, Germany. His main focus of research is on indirect cognitive measures in the assessment of sexual preference disorders. Further interests include the etiology and assessment of psychopathy as well as quantitative methods.