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Abstract: Indirect Measures of Pedophilia

Pedophilia is a primary risk factor for committing sexual offences against children, including reoffending after prior conviction. Hence, pedophilic sexual interest represents an essential aspect of the psychological assessment of sexual offenders against children. For the same reason, the detection of pedophilia by diagnostic measures may incur costs for the individual afflicted, such as extended treatment, incarceration, long-term supervision or public stigmatization. Consequently, many pedophilic individuals are likely motivated to deny their sexual preference for prepubescent children. Earlier developments of diagnostic measures tapped into the physiology of the sexual arousal response (i.e., phallometric measurement). More recent developments include cognitive tests of sexual interest in children. These cognitive tests are based on recording reaction times and reaction accuracy toward corresponding stimuli. The workshop will highlight the extant variants of such cognitive measures for pedophilic sexual interest, with a focus on two instruments, the Explicit and Implicit Sexual Interest Profile (EISIP) including viewing time measures and Implicit Association Tests on the one hand and the Choice-Reaction-Time (CRT) task on the other hand. The workshop will include practical descriptions of the methods as well as suggestions for integrating the results of computerized cognitive tests of pedophilic sexual interest into a comprehensive assessment of sexual preference. The presenters will pay attention to the notion of single-case assessments, involving normative (profile) comparisons, the potential pitfalls of ipsative measurement, and the diagnostic utility of the cognitive tests. Finally, underlying psychological processes and the issue of deliberate manipulation of test results ("faking") will be discussed.


Dr Alexander F. Schmidt is a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Psychology, Social and Legal Psychology (University of Bonn, Germany). His current research is centered on pedophilic sexual interest and its relationship to sexual offending against children with a specific focus on the diagnostic application and underlying processes of indirect latency-based measures of pedophilic sexual interests. Other research interests include self-regulation of problem behavior and substance abuse. Dr. Schmidt is a licensed cognitive-behavioral psychotherapist who also works with offenders. His work on the assessment of criminal responsibility has received the Young Scientist Best Dissertation Award from the Legal Psychology Subsection of the German Psychological Society (DGPs).    


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.