It is generally assumed that empathy acts to disinhibit behaviour that could be perceived as detrimental to others, and as a result is a common feature of offender treatment programmes. The present research hypothesised that empathy in all populations is both a situational and a selective process that is ultimately governed by self-interest, and further, that it is the nature of the self-interest that distinguishes individuals rather than a general empathy deficit per se. Empathic processes were observed in a non-offending population in a personal situation normally regarded as evocative of empathy: infidelity. Thematic analysis of data from individuals who reported being faithful or unfaithful to their partners revealed five dominant themes: vulnerable predisposition, emotional motivators, rational emotive decision making, avoiding cognitive dissonance and lack of remorse. The themes all revealed how individuals employed cognitive strategies, which were managed by self-interest that functioned to create cognitive states devoid of empathy.
|Journal||Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice|
|Early online date||14 Nov 2011|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
Bibliographical noteThe full text of this item is not available from the repository.
- thematic analysis
- cognitive distortions
- cognitive dissonance
- sexual offending
Walker, K., & Brown, S. J. (2013). Non-sex offenders display distorted thinking and have empathy deficits too: A thematic analysis of cognitions and the application of empathy. Journal of Sexual Aggression: An international, interdisciplinary forum for research, theory and practice, 19(1), 81-101. https://doi.org/10.1080/13552600.2011.618276