Recent high profile cases of child sexual abuse have increased interest in the grooming behaviors of child molesters and why these offenders are not identified sooner.
This study examined one possible explanation-the hindsight bias. Five hundred and twenty-six undergraduates were randomly assigned to read one of six vignettes and asked to rate the likelihood the person in the story is a child molester.
Results supported the presence of the hindsight bias, with participants who were given outcome information overestimating the likelihood they would have predicted that the person was a child molester. Also, participants were able to recognize sexual grooming behaviors when the potential child molester was a relative and nonrelative.
Findings indicated that sexual grooming behaviors may be more easily identified than previously proposed, but individuals greatly overestimate the likelihood they would have predicted a person was a child molester once they are given outcome information.
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- 1 Psychology Department , John Jay College of Criminal Justice , New York, New York , USA.
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