Vol. 10, No. 3, 2004 Page 2

Pedophiliacs exhibit signs of early neurological problems

A large-scale study reveals that pedophiles exhibit significant neurological deficits suggestive of early neurodevelopmental disturbances.

James Cantor and colleagues tested 473 male sex offenders seen at a Canadian mental health center. The researchers compared the pedophiliacs to men with atypical non-pedophilic sexual urges, and to men with histories of sexual offenses against adults, to ensure that any abnormalities they detected could be attributed to pedophilia rather than to criminal tendencies or atypical sexuality in general.

The researchers say their results "confirm the association between pedophilia and poor brain functioning." Pedophilia was significantly associated with lower full-scale IQ; lower scores on all six subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale- Revised (WAIS-R) used in the evaluation; impairment in immediate and delayed verbal free-recall memory; and impairment in immediate and delayed visuospatial free-recall memory.

In addition, pedophiliacs had a significantly higher incidence of non-right-handedness. The higher rate of non-right- handedness remained significant when the researchers controlled for age and intelligence, indicating that the finding was not simply due to the increased risk of low IQ in non-right- handed people.

The researchers say their evidence suggests that "a perturbation occurs in early brain development and causes each of the characteristics measured [by the study]: lower cognitive capacity, decreased rates of right-handedness, and pedophilic interest."


"Intelligence, memory, and handedness in pedophilia," James M. Cantor, Ray Blanchard, Bruce K. Christensen, Robert Dickey, Philip E. Klassen, A. Lee Beckstead, Thomas Blak, and Michael E. Kuban, Neuropsychology, Vol. 18, No. 1, 2004, 3-14. Address: James M. Cantor, CAMH-Clarke Site, 250 College Street, Toronto, Ontario M5T 1R8, Canada, james_cantor@camh.net.

Related Article: [2005, Vol. 11]

Return to:
[Author Directory] [Front Page] [Issue Index] [Subject Index] [Title Index]