Investigating the implicit theories of rape-prone men using an interpretative bias task
Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
© 2012 The British Psychological Society
Legal and Criminological Psychology
Volume 19, Issue 1, pages 40–53, February 2014
How to Cite
Blake, E. and Gannon, T. A. (2014), Investigating the implicit theories of rape-prone men using an interpretative bias task. Legal and Criminological Psychology, 19: 40–53. doi: 10.1111/j.2044-8333.2012.02056.x
- Issue published online: 21 JAN 2014
- Article first published online: 14 JUN 2012
- Received 14 November 2011; revised version received 04 April 2012
Purpose. Ward (2000) has hypothesized that sexual offenders hold offence supportive implicit theories (ITs) or schemata that function to facilitate or maintain offending behaviour. The present research aimed to determine whether rape-prone men hold the same offence supportive ITs as those that have been identified in rapists.
Method. This study adopted both an explicit measure of ITs and also an implicit measure of ITs (an interpretative bias task). In the implicit task, participants viewed ambiguous stimuli (one-sentence statements) that may be interpreted in either a rape-supportive manner, or a non-rape-supportive manner. Participant's interpretation of the stimuli was assessed via a memory recognition task. We predicted that men higher on proclivity to rape – who presumably hold strong mental representations of rape-supportive themes – would be more likely to interpret stimuli in a rape-supportive manner relative to non-rape-supportive stimuli compared to men lower on rape proclivity.
Results. Using multiple regression to determine the relative contributions of both explicit and implicit measures for predicting rape proclivity, we found that only the explicit, self-report questionnaire and one of the ITs, ‘women are sex objects’ (as measured by the interpretative bias task), was significantly related to a person's rape proclivity score.
Conclusions. This result indicates that rape-prone men may not share the same beliefs as convicted rapists, which could be a key difference between men at risk of offending, and those who have been convicted of a sexual offence.