This thesis examines differences in information-processing of sexual material using the emotional Stroop task to determine whether it is a reliable tool to be used in the assessment of deviant sexual interest for sexual abusers. Chapter one reviews the Stroop task and provides guidance to researchers for developing Stroop studies. Chapter two provides an overview of the methodologies and reports on the development of new word stimuli to measure sexual interest specific to sexual abusers. In Chapter three, adult sexual abusers demonstrated Stroop bias towards general sexual word content and words reflecting sexual interest more specific to sexual abusers. Chapter four found that the emotional Stroop task used in this thesis was not a suitable tool for use with adolescent samples. Chapter five compared the adult and adolescent datasets and found that offender groups exhibit a general slowing effect overall and that differences in Stroop bias were evident between different age cohorts. Chapters six/seven identified areas of the brains of sexual abusers that are disinhibited when processing emotional/sexual word content during the completion of the task. The thesis concludes with a discussion of the overall findings, limitations of the research, implications of the findings, and suggestions for future research
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