We are very happy to inform that PhD student – Charlotte Wesson – has just had an article published in this month’s issue of The Quarterly – the official publication of the Psychology Postgraduate Affairs Group (PsyPAG). This particular issue is a Special Issue coordinated by the ‘Psychology of Sexualities Section’ of PsyPAG; of which Charlotte is the section representative.
In the article, entitled “The Fairer Sex – Literally: A Brief Review of Sexual Fluidity“, Charlotte discusses what sexual fluidity is (i.e., “the amount an individual’s sex drive can be moulded by social, situational and cultural pressures (Baumeister, 2000); Wesson, 2016, p. 34); provides an overview of the existing theories that attempt to explain sexual fluidity; and examines research on sexual fluidity in both women and men. Charlotte ends the paper with some points on why this research is important and what areas should be researched further.
To read Charlotte’s article, it can be found on page 34 of the online version of this month’s issue of The Quarterly. Click here to be taken this online version.
For further updates on Charlotte’s work, follow her on Twitter @CharWesson
FCRG member – Dr Ross Bartels (along with associate member Dr Craig Harper) – have just had a new paper published in the Journal of Sexual Aggression entitled “The influence of implicit theories and offender characteristics on judgements of sexual offenders: A moderated-mediation analysis”.
Negative attitudes towards sexual offenders are typically related to harsher policy judgements (e.g., perceiving sexual offenders as deserving very harsh punishments). This new study extends this line of research by examining two factors that affect people’s judgements of sexual offenders; namely, the representativeness heuristic (i.e., how much the sex offender in a particular case matches the stereotype of a sex offender) and implicit theories about sexual offenders (i.e., the extent to which people believe perpetrators of sexual offences are fixed in their ways).
Using a sample of 252 community participants, Harper and Bartels found that the relationship between attitudes towards sexual offenders and policy judgements were mediated by implicit theories about sexual offenders (i.e., the relationship was stronger the more participants believed sex offenders cannot change). However, the mediation effect was moderated by the type of child sex offender they were judging. That is, no mediation effect was found when the case involved an adult female or a male juvenile perpetrator. From this, the authors argue that the relationship between attitudes and policy judgements is contingent on the activation of a ‘sexual offender stereotype’, but that this link can be disrupted if presented with a non-stereotypical case.
The journal has allowed for 50 free reads of the paper – which can be found by clicking here
Early this month (2-5th Nov), Prof. Todd Hogue and Dr Ross Bartels, along with research assistant Darragh McCashin and FCRG research associate Dr Craig Harper, presented at the 2016 conference of the Association of the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) in Orlando, FL, (USA).
Todd spoke about the importance of attitudes towards sexual offenders in the context of clinical practice.
Ross’s presented twos talks: (1) on the relationship between ‘Rich Fantasy Life’ (i.e. fantasy proneness, dissociation, & vivid mental imagery) and the use of aggressive sexual fantasies in males; and (2) on an interview study examining implicit theories of child sexual exploitation material users.
Darragh presented the work of PhD student Danielle Kettlebourough (as she unfortunately could not attend). The topic concerned desistance and protective factors associated with child sexual exploitation material offending.
Craig presented two talks, both related to the psychological factors that influence attitudes towards sexual offenders. Craig also took part in an invited discussion panel with other notable figures in the field (see image) pertaining to the 2014 documentary entitled ‘Pervert Park’
It was an extremely good ATSA this year! Not only was it set in DisneyWorld (!) – with lovely weather – but the keynote talks were cutting-edge and very thought-provoking, and the breakout sessions were varied and packed with useful new ideas, findings, and extensions of current understandings related to the field of sexual offending. The FCRG team each received fantastic feedback for their presentations, fostered new research collaborations, and furthered existing ones.
The team are now looking to next year’s ATSA conference in Kansas City!!
Last week, a new book on sexual offending (containing three volumes) was published. The work, entitled “The Wiley Handbook on the Theories, Assessment, and Treatment of Sexual Offending”, is the result of a large project involving 6 editors across 3 volumes (Vol 1. on Theory was edited by Tony Beech & Tony Ward; Vol 2. on Assessment by Leam Craig & Martin Rettenberger; and Vol 3. on Treatment by Bill Marshall & Liam Marshall), and 1 overseeing editor (Douglas Boer) who brought all the volumes (including over 80 chapters) together.
We are happy to say that three members of the FCRG contributed to three chapters!
First, Dr Ross Bartels (along with Tony Beech) have a chapter on ‘Theories of Deviant Sexual Fantasy’ in Volume 1 (Theory). This marks one of the only existing publications that consolidates the existing literature pertaining to the theoretical underpinnings of deviant sexual fantasies (and also includes the authors’ new model – the ‘Dual-Process Model of Sexual Thinking’).
Second, Ross also contributed another chapter (along with Nicola Gray and Robert Snowden) entitled ‘Indirect Measures of Deviant Sexual Interest’ (in Vol.2 on Assessment). The chapter provides a review of studies that use response-latency measures of deviant sexual interest. While many studies are being frequently published in this area, the chapter provides researchers, clinicians, & other forensic professionals with a general overview of the field.
Third, Prof. Todd Hogue and Charlotte Wesson (along with Prof. Derek Perkins) have contributed a chapter entitled ‘Eye-tracking and assessing sexual interest in forensic contexts‘ to Vol. 2 (Assessment). The chapter focuses a relatively new method of assessing sexual interest (both typical and atypical) – eye-tracking. Todd and Charlotte review the existing studies, concluding that it holds promise as a reliable and hard-to-fake assessment tool.
For more about the book – click here
PhD student Danielle Kettleborough and her supervisor Dr Hannah Merdian have had a paper published in the Journal of Sexual Aggression. The paper is entitled “Gateway to offending behaviour: permission-giving thoughts of online users of child sexual exploitation material” and involved thematically analysing the views of 16 forensic professionals regarding their views on the thinking patterns of child sexual exploitation material (CSEM) users. Four overarching themes were identified. (1) Perceived Nature of Children (perception of children portrayed in CSEM, as well as children in general), (2) Non-sexual Engagement with CSEM (motivating factors that are not inherently sexual in nature), (3) Denial of Harm (perception of the level of harm caused by CSEM), and (4) Expression of a General Sexual Preference (general interest in deviant sexual behaviour). Danielle and Hannah discuss the important implication that this study offers, including theoretical insight (e.g., differences between CSEM subtypes) and practical utility (e.g., moving towards developing a scale). The article can be found here
Hannah Merdian has also had another paper published (in Psychology, Crime, & Law) along with two of her ex-MSc students (Rebecca Crookes & Charlotte Hassett). The paper is entitled ” ‘So what about the stories?’ An exploratory study of the definition, use, and function of Narrative Child Sexual Exploitation Material”. It reports a study on a topic that has received very little attention in the field; namely, CSEM that is narrative-based (i.e., non-visual) or N-CSEM. In an attempt to define and conceptualise N-CSEM, the authors interviewed 11 professionals who had worked with N-CSEM users. Using thematic analysis with the interview data, 3 overarching themes emerged with regards to N-CSEM: (1) conceptual and legal definitions; (2) considering harm of N-CSEM; and (3) function of N-CSEM. As the authors state, “the study provides insight into N-CSEM as a separate entity from visual CSEM, challenging and informing legal decision-making and assessment and treatment providers for users of CSEM”. The study also provides researches with a base from which to begin exploring N-CSEM more deeply. The article can found here