Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Cognitive assessment of deviant sexual interest using the emotional stroop and fMRI

By Shelley Price


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

Topics: BF Psychology
Year: 2011
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2002). A developmental fMRI study of the Stroop color-word task. doi
  2. (2006). A functional endophenotype for sexual orientation in humans.
  3. (2001). A global optimisation method for robust affine registration of brain images. doi
  4. (1984). A horse race of a different color: Stroop interference patterns with transformed words. doi
  5. (2007). A modified Stroop task with sexual offenders: Replication of a study.
  6. (1995). A priming methodology for studying self-representation in major depressive disorder.
  7. (1998). A psychometric typology of child abusers.
  8. (1997). Age -related equivalence of identity suppression in the Stroop color-word task. doi
  9. (1998). Aging and the Stroop effect: A meta -analysis.
  10. (2000). American Psychiatric Association. doi
  11. (2005). An emotional Stroop functional MRI study of euthymic bipolar disorder. doi
  12. (2000). An event-related functional MRI study of the Stroop color word interference task. doi
  13. (1989). An examination of brain damage and dysfunction in genital exhibitionists. doi
  14. (2001). An fMRI study of anterior cingulate function in posttraumatic stress disorder.
  15. (2005). An implicit test of the associations between children and sex in pedophiles.
  16. (2006). An introduction to the juvenile sex offender: Terms, concepts, and definitions.
  17. (2004). Anterior cingulate conflict monitoring and adjustments in control. doi
  18. (2004). Anterior cingulate cortex activation during cognitive interference in Schizophrenia.
  19. (1998). Anterior cingulate cortex, error detection, and the online monitoring of performance.
  20. (2008). Assessing risk in sex offender: A pracWiWioner’s JXiGe.
  21. (2002). Assessing risk of sexual assault recidivism with adolescent sex offenders. In M.C.Calder (Ed.), Young people who sexually abuse: Building the evidence base for your practice
  22. (2009). Assessing sexual interest with the emotional Stroop test.
  23. (2007). Assessing the Risk of Sexual Offenders on Community Supervision: The Dynamic Supervision Project. Public Safety Canada,
  24. (2006). Assessment issues in relation to young people who have sexually abusive behaviour.
  25. (1977). Assessment of sexual behavior,
  26. (2006). Associative and propositional processes in evaluation: An integrative review of implicit and explicit attitude change. doi
  27. (1980). Attention and automaticity in Stroop and priming tasks: Theory and data. doi
  28. (1975). Attention and cognitive control.
  29. (1993). Attention to external threat cues in anxiety states. doi
  30. (2002). Attentional control in the aging brain: Insights from an fMRI study of the Stroop task.
  31. (2001). Attentional selection and the processing of taskirrelevant information: Insights from fMRI examinations of the Stroop task.
  32. (2008). Attitudes: Insights from the New Implicit Measures.
  33. (1979). Autocorrelation of choice -reaction times.
  34. (2000). Automatic vigilance: The attentiongrabbing power of approach and avoidance-related social information.
  35. (1987). Beliefs About Children Scale (BACS).
  36. (2007). Brain activation during the Stroop task in adolescents with severe substance and conduct problems: A pilot study.
  37. (1982). Brain damage among mentally disordered sex offenders.
  38. (1994). Changes in medial cortical blood flow with a stimulus response compatibility task.
  39. (1986). Characteristics of adolescent incest sexual perpetrators: Preliminary findings.
  40. (2006). Children and young people with sexually harmful or abusive behaviours: Underpinning knowledge, principles, approaches and service provision.
  41. (2008). Children induce an enhanced attentional blink in child molesters.
  42. (1996). Circuitry and functional aspects of the insular lobe in primates including humans. doi
  43. (2001). Classification models of child molesters utilizing the Abel Assessment for sexual interest. doi
  44. (2000). Cognitive and emotional influences in anterior cingulate cortex.
  45. (1999). Cognitive Behavioural Treatment of Sexual Offenders. doi
  46. (1997). Cognitive distortions in sex offenders: An integrative review.
  47. (2009). Cognitive modelling of sexual arousal and interest: Choice reaction time measures. In
  48. (1992). Cognitive processing of emotional information in panic disorder.
  49. (1994). Cognitive processing of idiographi c emotional information in panic disorder.
  50. (2000). Cognitive processing of trauma cues in adults reporting repressed, recovered, or continuous memories of childhood sexual abuse.
  51. (1992). Cognitive processing of trauma cues in rape victims with post-traumatic stress.
  52. (1999). Common effects of emotional valence, arousal and attention on neural activation during visual processing of pictures.
  53. (1994). Community-Based Treatment For Sex Offenders: An Evaluation of Seven Treatment Programmes, London: Home Office
  54. (2009). Comparing two implicit cognitive measures of sexual interest: A pictoral modified Stroop task and the implicit associations test.
  55. (2010). Conduct problems in adolescence: Three domains of inhibition and effect of gender.
  56. (1999). Conflict monitoring versus selection-for-action in the anterior cingulate cortex.
  57. (2009). Consequences of emotional stimuli: Age differences on pure and mixed blocks of the emotional Stroop. doi
  58. (2002). Control of goal-directed and stimulus driven attention in the brain. doi
  59. (1977). Controlled and automatic human information processing II. Perceptual learning, automatic attending and general theory.
  60. (1991). Depression and the emotional Stroop task.
  61. (2000). Determinants and effects of attentional bias in smokers.
  62. (2009). Developing clinically useful implicit tasks of sexual interest: What are they measuring?
  63. (1966). Developmental study of color -word interference.
  64. (1998). Directed forgetting of trauma cues in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse with and without posttraumatic stress disorder.
  65. (1998). Divided visual attention in psychopathic and nonpsychopathic offenders.
  66. (2000). Do innocent victims threaten the Belief in a Just World? Evidence from a modified Stroop task.
  67. (1995). Effect of psychological treatment on cognitive bias in generalized anxiety disorder. doi
  68. (2001). Effects of smoking opportunity on attentional bias in smokers.
  69. (1978). Electrodermal and cardiovascular correlates of psychopathy.
  70. (1998). Emotional arousal and activation of the visual cortex : An fMRI analysis. doi
  71. (2000). Empathy, social skills and relevant cognitive processes in rapists and child molesters. doi
  72. (1966). Errors and error correction in choice -response tasks.
  73. (1999). Evaluation of adolescent sexual abuser s. In
  74. (2009). Evaluation of sexual interest in child sex offenders using a computerised measure. Unpublished PhD Thesis,
  75. (2006). Evidence of orbitofrontal dysfunction in sex offenders.
  76. (2001). Executive function impairment in sexual offenders.
  77. (2005). Executive functioning in adult ADHD: a meta-analytic review.
  78. (1999). Factors related to recidivism among juvenile sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse:
  79. (2002). Fast robust automated brain extraction.
  80. fMRI studies of Stroop tasks reveal unique roles of anterior and posterior brain systems in attentional selection.
  81. (2006). Forensic assessment of deviant sexual interests: The current position.
  82. (2005). Forensic assessment of sexual interest: A review. doi
  83. (1999). Functional MRI study of cognitive generation of affect.
  84. (2004). Gender differences in implicit and explicit anxiety measures.
  85. (2003). General multi-level linear modelling for group analysis in FMRI.
  86. (2006). Grade failure and special education placement in sexual offenders’ educational histories.
  87. (1991). Half a century of research on the Stroop effect: An integrative review. doi
  88. (2005). Handedness in pedophilia and hebephilia.
  89. (1980). Hemispheric -asymmetry in the processing of Stroop-stimuli: An examination of gender, hand preference, and language differences. doi
  90. (1981). Hemispheric asymmetry in the processing of Stroop stimuli: An examination of age and gender differences. doi
  91. (2002). Heterosexual male perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse: A preliminary neuropsychiatric model.
  92. (2004). How specific are executive functioning deficits in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in autism? doi
  93. (1987). Human learning and memory. doi
  94. (2002). Improved optimisation for the robust and accurate linear registration and motion correction of brain images.
  95. (2000). Improving risk assessments for sex offenders: A comparison of three actuarial risk scales.
  96. (2006). Impulsivity in juvenile delinquency: Differences among early -onset, late onset, and non-offenders.
  97. (2007). Indirect assessment of cognitions of child sexual abusers with the implicit association test.
  98. (2010). Influence of compulsivity of drug abuse on dopaminergic modulation of attentional bias in stimulant dependence.
  99. (1998). Information processing abnormalities in anxiety disorders: Implications for cognitive neuroscience.
  100. (2004). Intelligence, memory, and handedness in pedophilia.
  101. (2000). Interdimensional interference in the Stroop effect: Uncovering the cognitive and neural anatomy of attention. doi
  102. (1995). Interference and facilitation effects during selective attention: An H215O study of Stroop task performance.
  103. (1962). Interference effects of Stroop colorword test on childhood, adulthood and aging.
  104. (2001). Interpreting Stroop interference: An analysis of differences between task versions.
  105. (2009). Introduction. In
  106. (1995). Intrusive cognitions: An investigation of the Emotional Stroop task. doi
  107. (2007). Is juvenile psychopathy associated with low anxiety and fear in conduct-disordered male offenders? doi
  108. (2003). Juvenile Sex Offender Assessment Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II): Manual. Available online at:
  109. (2006). Juvenile sex offenders: A complex population. doi
  110. (2003). Juvenile sex offenders: Toward the development of a typology. Sexual Abuse:
  111. (2006). Lexical characteristics of words used in emotional Stroop experiments. doi
  112. (2002). Long-term follow-up of criminal recidivism in young sex offenders: Temporal patterns and risk factors.
  113. (1967). Male sexual deviations: association with early temporal lobe damage.
  114. (2006). meta -cognitive approach to implicit´ and e[plicit´ evaluations: Comment on *awronski and %odenhausen
  115. (2000). Moral reasoning, interpersonal skills, and cognition of rapists, child molesters, and incest offenders.
  116. (2004). Multi-level linear modelling for FMRI group analysis using Bayesian inference. doi
  117. (2000). National Sex Offender Programs (Volume II: Moderate Intensity), Correctional Service of Canada,
  118. (1995). Nationwide survey of treatment programs & models: Serving abuse reactive children and adolescent & adult sexual offenders. Orwell, VT:
  119. (2009). Negative priming within a Stroop task in children and adolescents with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, their siblings, and independent controls.
  120. (1997). Neural activation during selective attention to subjective emotional responses.
  121. (2004). Neural correlates of the classic color emotional Stroop in women with abuse-related post-traumatic stress disorder.
  122. Neural correlates of the individual emotional Stroop in borderline personality disorder.
  123. (1997). Neuroanatomical correlates of pleasant and unpleasant emotion. doi
  124. (1986). Neuropsychological impairment in pedophiles.
  125. (1993). Nicotine abstinence produces content-specific Stroop interference.
  126. (1990). On the control of automatic processes: A parallel distributed processing account of the Stroop effect.
  127. (1992). Optimizing the use of information: Strategic control of activation of responses.
  128. (2009). Penile plethysm ography: Strengths, limitations, innovations. In
  129. (2003). Penile plethysmography: Will we ever get it right? In
  130. (2004). Performance in auditory and visual emotional Stroop tasks: A comparison of older and younger adults. doi
  131. (1999). Performance of children and adolescents with PTSD on Stroop the colournaming task.
  132. (1995). Performance on the emotional Stroop task in groups of anxious, expert, and control subjects: A comparison of computer and card presentation. doi
  133. (2006). Performance on the Hayling and Brixton tests in older adults: Norms and correlates.
  134. (2002). Personality and neuropsychological function in violent, sexual, and arson offenders.
  135. (2007). Predicting recidivism in adolescent sexual offenders. doi
  136. (1998). Predicting relapse: A meta-analysis of sexual offender recidivism studies.
  137. (2004). Probabilistic independent component analysis for functional magnetic resonance imaging.
  138. (2003). Processing bias for aggression words in forensic and nonforensic samples.
  139. (2006). Processing emotional pictures and words: Effects of valence and arousal. doi
  140. (1991). Processing of threat-related information in rape victims.
  141. (2004). Procession bias for sexual material: The emotional Stroop and sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse:
  142. (1996). Psycho pathy and dual-task performance under focusing conditions.
  143. (1990). Psychopathy and attention.
  144. (2005). Putting some feeling into it – the conceptual and empirical relationships between the classic and emotional Stroop tasks: A commentary on Algom, Chajut and Lev doi
  145. (2005). Quantitative reanalysis of aggregate data on IQ in sexual offenders.
  146. (1991). Reaction time analysis with outlier exclusion: Bias varies with sample size.
  147. (1998). Reciprocal suppressi on of regional cerebral blood flow during emotional versus higher cognitive processes: Implications for interaction between emotion and cognition. doi
  148. (2003). Relationships of distinct affective dimensions to performance on an emotional Stroop task.
  149. (2006). Risk Prediction, decision making a nd evaluation of adolescent sexual abusers.
  150. (2008). Robust group analysis using outlier inference. doi
  151. (1997). Role of the left inferior prefrontal cortex in retrieval of semantic knowledge: A reevaluation.
  152. (2004). Seeing things differently: the viewing time alternative to penile plethysmography. doi
  153. (1973). Selective attention to words and colours.
  154. (1990). Selective processing of threat cues in panic disorder.
  155. (2003). Self-reported head injuries before and after age 13 in pedophilic and non-pedophilic men referred for clinical assessment.
  156. (1964). Semantic power measured through the interference of words with color naming. doi
  157. (2005). Separating semantic conflict and response conflict in the Stroop task: A functional MRI study.
  158. (2005). Sex differences in processing aggression words using the Emotional Stroop task.
  159. (2001). Sex offenders versus non-sex offenders: differences in impulsivity and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder?
  160. (2003). Sexual preferences: Are they useful in the assessment and treatment of sexual offenders?
  161. (1999). Sexually and physically abused foster care children and posttraumatic stress disorder. doi
  162. (2001). Statistical analysis of activation images. In
  163. (2006). STEP 4: The Sex Offender Treatment Programme in Prison: Addressing the Offending Behaviour of Rapists and Sexual Murderers. Birmingham: available at ort_2005.pdf
  164. (1990). Stimulus control of sexual arousal: Its role in sexual
  165. (1997). Stroop color -word interference and electroencephalogram activation: Evidence for age-related decline of the anterior attentional system.
  166. (1978). Stroop Colour andWord Test: A manual for clinical and experimental uses. Stoelting Company,
  167. (2010). Stroop interference effects as measured through fMRI analysis amongst sexual abusers and controls. Poster session presented at the annual Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) conference,
  168. (1993). Stroop interference: Aging effects assessed with the Stroop color-word test.
  169. (1996). Stroop performance in healthy younger and older adults and in individuals with dementia of the Alzheimer's type.
  170. (2004). Stroop tasks reveal abnormal selective attention among psychopathic offenders.
  171. (1935). Studies of interfere nce in serial verbal reactions.
  172. (1993). Subliminal processing of emotional information in anxiety and depression.
  173. (2007). Task feedback effects on conflict monitoring and executive control: Relationship to subclinical measures of depression.
  174. (2001). Temporal autocorrelation in univariate linear modelling of fMRI data. doi
  175. (1992). Test-retest reliability of audiotaped phallometric stimuli with adolescent sexual offenders. Sexual Abuse:
  176. (2006). The Addiction -Stroop test: Theoretical considerations and procedural recommendations. doi
  177. (1992). The Aggression Questionnaire.
  178. (1990). The anterior cingulate cortex mediates processing selection in the Stroop attentional conflict paradigm.
  179. (1989). The contingent negative variation in psychopaths.
  180. (1998). The counting Stroop: An interference task specialized for functional neuroimaging-validation study with functional MRI.
  181. (2000). The discriminative validity of a phallometric test for pedophilic interests among adolescent sex offenders against children.
  182. (2005). The effects of age and task context on Stroop task performance.
  183. (1997). The effects of blocked versus random presentation and semantic relatedness of stimulus words in response to a modified Stroop task among social phobics.
  184. (1998). The emotional counting Str oop paradigm: A functional magnetic resonance imaging probe of the anterior cingulate affective division.
  185. (1996). The emotional Stroop task and psychopathology. doi
  186. (1997). The Hayling and Brixton Tests.
  187. (1983). The human Klü verBucy syndrome.
  188. (1974). The left frontal lobe of man and the suppression of habitual responses in verbal categorical behavior.
  189. (1989). The measurement of the cognitive distortions of child molesters. doi
  190. (2005). The neural correlates and functional integration of cognitive control in a Stroop task.
  191. (1990). The neuropsychology of delinquency: A critical review of theory and research. Crime and Justice: An Annual Review of
  192. (2009). The pictorial fire Stroop: A measure of processing bias for fire -related stimuli. doi
  193. (1995). The role of prefrontal regions in the Stroop task.
  194. (2003). The Stroop Color-word test: Genetic and environmental influences; Reading, mental ability and personality correlates. doi
  195. (2005). The Stroop revisited: A meta-analysis of interference control in AD/HD.
  196. (1990). The Stroop task as a measure of construct accessibility in depression.
  197. (1886). The time it takes to see and name objects.
  198. (2004). The Violence Risk Scale: Sexual Offender Version (VRS:SO). Regional Psychiatric Centre and doi
  199. (2007). Three steps to redu cing child molestation by adolescents.
  200. (1982). Time course analysis of the Stroop phenomenon. doi
  201. (1974). Toward a theory of automatic information processing in reading.
  202. (1988). Training and Stroop -like interference: Evidence for a continuum of automaticity. doi
  203. (2004). Use of visual reaction time to assess male adolescents who molest children. Sexual Abuse: doi
  204. (2003). Using a modified Stroop task to implicitly discern the cognitive organization of alcohol expectancy.
  205. (2004). Visual word recognition of single-syllable words. doi
  206. (2002). Why do non-color words interfere with color naming?
  207. (1969). Why is naming longer than reading?

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.