nextgenforensic

Examining preferential pedophilic interest as a risk factor for sexual recidivism

By Ian McPhail (@IanVMcPhail on twitter)

In my last two posts on nextgenforensic, I reviewed what we know about the latent structure of pedophilic interests and then examined the implications of this research by looking to see if non-preferential pedophilic interest was a predictor of sexual recidivism (tldr: it was not).

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Examining pedophilic interest as a risk factor for sexual re-offending

By Ian McPhail (@IanVMcPhail on twitter)

One of the central preoccupations of forensic psychology is identifying what psychological and social characteristics may contribute to re-offending.  This concept is straightforward and important.  When someone commits an offence, is caught and convicted, and becomes involved in the criminal justice system, we want to understand what separates those who return to criminal behaviour and those who do not.  When we understand this, people working with individuals who have committed sexual offences can help them limit the influence of these problems in their lives and increase the chance that they will desist from crime.

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The link between pedophilia and height

Ian McPhail

If I were to ask the question, “what are some markers of early development experiences that might be linked to the development of pedophilic interests?”  I doubt most people would suggest “physical height”.  But to the contrary, pedophilic sex offenders are, on average, 1.7cm shorter than other groups of people (for example, other sex offender groups, non-offenders).  A more recent study by Fazio and colleagues found pedophilic offenders to be 3.09cm shorter than non-pedophilic offenders.

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Emotional congruence with children: Recent developments in an old concept

Ian McPhail

In the past number of years, a few colleagues and I have embarked on a line of research examining emotional congruence with children in sexual offenders against children.  The set of psychological processes typically included within this concept highlight the perceived intimate nature of relationships males who commit sexual offences against children have with children and their understanding of these relationships.  Basically, emotional congruence with children suggests the notion that some men feel more comfortable around children than adults, think of children as their friends, are emotionally attracted to children, and may even yearn for the trappings of childhood.

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Incest: What we know (and don’t know)

Lesleigh Pullman

Although this topic definitely does not make for good dinner conversation, attempting to understand the causes of sexual offending against children is an ongoing endeavour. But we’ve done pretty well so far. Much is known about the causes of child sexual abuse generally. Two key motivational factors that have been highlighted are atypical sexual interests and antisociality. However, much less is known about the causes of incest. Incestuous sexual offending is puzzling not only from a social and moral perspective (i.e., the incest taboo), but also from a biological perspective. Inbreeding depression (what happens when we have offspring with close relatives) increases the likelihood of birth defects and infant mortality. Presumably, we have evolved strong mechanisms for avoiding incest because sex with our relatives is bad for the survival of our genes!

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