In recent years empirical research, clinical observation, and theoretical models about sexual offending have emphasized the importance of problem solving and decision making throughout different phases in the offense chain. This work suggests that sometimes offense planning is explicit, systematic, and analytical, while at other times it appears to be implicit and intuitive. The latter style of decision making has been called seemingly unimportant decisions. We attempt to provide an explanation of offenders' implicit decision making and suggest two social cognitive mechanisms capable of generating these types of decisions. We believe that implicit decision making in offenders has the appearance of automaticity, that is, decision making that is implicit, fast, relatively autonomous, frequently associated with a lack of control, effortless, and occurring without conscious awareness. Drawing from diverse theoretical sources, we hypothesize that these types of decisions are generated by underlying automatic goal dependent action plans. More specifically, we suggest that there are at least two types of automatic goal dependent plans evident in offenders' decision making: offense scripts and mental simulations. We draw implications for generating future hypotheses and provide suggestions for future research.
Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 8, 2004
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