Differences in visual attention patterns to sexually mature and immature stimuli between heterosexual sexual offenders, nonsexual offenders, and nonoffending men




Men, whether gynephilic or androphilic, show both early and late attention toward adults and nottoward children. We examined early and late visual attention to sexually mature versus immaturestimuli in four groups of heterosexual men: sexual offenders against children (SOAC = 18), sexualoffenders against adults (SOAA = 16), nonsexual offenders (NSO = 18), and nonoffending men(NOM = 19). We simultaneously presented adult and child stimuli and measured time tofirstfixation, number offirstfixations, total duration offixation, andfixation count to four areas ofinterest: entire body, then face, chest, and pelvis. We found a significant interaction where onlySOAC tended tofixate morefirst times to child than to adult stimuli. Conversely, we found longertotal duration offixations for the bodies of adults compared to the bodies of children in all groups;however, in both the total duration offixations and thefixation count for the whole body, butespecially in the chest, SOAC tended tofixate longer and more often on child stimuli than the othertwo groups of offenders, but not longer or more often than NOM. This study adds to the limitedresearch using eye-tracking techniques in samples of SOAC.Recent studies have demonstrated that emotional sti-muli that are relevant for reproduction will captureattention for a longer time than non-reproduction-related stimuli (Calvo & Lang,2004; Carretié,2014;Nummenmaa, Hyönä, & Calvo,2006). For this reason,sexual response theories attribute a role to attentionalprocesses as indicators of sexual response and sexualpreferences (Geer & Melton,1997; Janssen, Everaerd,Spiering, & Janssen,2000). Sexual stimuli tend toattract attention more easily than nonsexual stimulibecause the former have strong incentive value (Both,Everaerd, & Laan,2007). If a stimulus has sexualsignificance, it can trigger an initial preconsciousprocess followed by a process of conscious attentionthat could influence the decision to approach or avoidthe stimulus (Fromberger et al.,2013; Geer & Bellard,1996; Krupp,2008).Accordingtotheinformationprocessingmodelofsexual arousal, sexual response is the result of the inter-action between early (preconscious) and late (conscious)cognitive processes (Spiering, Everaerd, & Elzinga,2002). When a stimulus with relevant sexual cues coin-cides with information stored in implicit memory, thereis a preattentional bias toward it, leading to the onset ofa physiological sexual response (Janssen & Everaerd,1993; Spiering & Everaerd,2007). For a subjective sex-ual response to take place, the conscious processing ofsexual information is also required. Therefore, if thepreattended sexual cues coincide with the informationcontained in explicit memory, a full sexual responsewill be produced, comprising physiological, subjective,and behavioral components (Spiering, Everaerd, &Janssen,2003). The conscious processing of sexual infor-mation influences theamountof attention to the stimulus.Correspondence should be addressed to Milena Vásquez Amézquita,University El Bosque, Faculty of Psychology, Bogotá, Carrera 9 # 131a−02,Colombia. E-mail:mvasquezam@unbosque.edu.coMVA conceived and designed the experiments and performed theexperiments. JDL and MVA analyzed the data. MVA, JDL, MCS, andAS wrote the article.Supplemental data for this article can be accessed on thepublisher's website.THE JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH,56(2), 213–228, 2019© 2019 The Society for the Scientific Study of SexualityISSN: 0022-4499 print/1559-8519 onlineDOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00224499.2018.1511965

Palabras clave



Delitos sexuales