The neuropsychology and neurology of sexual deviance: a review and pilot study.

Institut Philippe-Pinel de Montréal, 10905 Henri-Bourassa Bld, Montreal, QC, H1C 1H1, Canada.
Sexual Abuse A Journal of Research and Treatment (Impact Factor: 2.28). 07/2007; 19(2):155-73. DOI: 10.1007/s11194-007-9045-4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Current neurological hypotheses of paraphilia posit that sexual deviance is associated with frontal and/or temporal lobe damage. This broad conception is based on few investigations, however, and the first goal of this study was to review the existing data derived from neuropsychiatry, neuroimaging and neuropsychology. It is concluded that although fronto-temporal dysfunctions are sporadically reported among sexual offenders, the evidence is scarce and it might not be specific to this type of offending. The second objective of this investigation was to gather preliminary neuropsychological data with more homogeneous subgroups of sexual offenders. A profile of lower-order executive dysfunctions (e.g. sustained attention and inhibition) and verbal deficits with intact or good capacities for higher-order executive functioning (e.g. reasoning and cognitive flexibility) and visuo-spatial processing was preferentially found among sexual offenders, suggesting basal fronto-temporal anomalies. Importantly, pedophiles were more consistently and severely impaired than rapists of adults. However, this basal fronto-temporal profile is not characteristic of sexual deviance, as it is also found in association with delinquency and criminality in general. Future neuropsychological and brain imaging studies should consider subgroups of sexual offenders and recruit non-sexual violent persons and non-violent individuals in order to disentangle the complex relations between brain anomalies and sexual deviance.

  • Source
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This article reviews the current neurobiological literature on the aetiology of developmental and acquired paedophilia and examines what the consequences could be in terms of responsibility and treatment for the latter. Addressing the question of responsibility and punishment of offenders with acquired paedophilia from a neurobiological perspective is controversial. Consequently it is essential to avoid hasty conclusions based strictly on neurobiological abnormality justifications. This study establishes a distinction between developmental and acquired paedophilia. The article investigates whether offenders who fulfil the diagnosis of acquired paedophilia should be held fully responsible, particularly in cases where the offender's conduct appears to result from volitionally controlled behaviour that is seemingly incompatible with a neurological cause. Moreover, the article explores how responsibility can be compromised when offenders with acquired paedophilia have (partially) preserved moral knowledge despite their sexual disorder. The article then examines the option of offering mandatory treatment as an alternative to imprisonment for offenders with acquired paedophilia. Furthermore, the article addresses the ethical issues related to offering any form of quasi-coercive treatment as a condition of release. This study concludes that decisions to fully or partially excuse an individual who fulfil the diagnosis of acquired paedophilia should take all relevant information into account, both neurobiological and other environmental evidence, and should proceed on a careful case by case analysis before sentencing or offering treatment. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    International Journal of Law and Psychiatry 02/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.ijlp.2015.01.007 · 1.19 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Sexually Violent Predator statutes allow the involuntary treatment of individuals who are found to pose a threat to public safety. Most sex offender treatment programs rely on cognitive interventions to reduce the risk of recidivism. The purpose of this study was to examine (a) whether individuals with paraphilia diagnoses have cognitive deficits compared with the general population; (b) whether individuals diagnosed with pedophilia differed on cognitive performance when compared with individuals diagnosed with paraphilia not otherwise specified (NOS), nonconsent; and (c) whether individuals with paraphilia plus antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) differed in cognitive performance when compared with individuals with a paraphilia diagnosis only. The sample consisted of 170 males (M age = 50.21; SD = 10.22) diagnosed with pedophilia or paraphilia NOS, nonconsent, who were detained or civilly committed to a forensic psychiatric hospital. Assessments included Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status (RBANS), Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI), and Wide Range Achievement Test 4 (WRAT4). Individuals diagnosed with pedophilia and paraphilia NOS, nonconsent, obtained lower scores than matched controls based on the RBANS Immediate Memory, Visuospatial/Constructional, Delayed Memory indices and Total Score. In comparison with individuals with paraphilia NOS, nonconsent, those with pedophilia diagnosis had lower scores on the RBANS Delayed Memory. Individuals diagnosed with a paraphilia disorder combined with ASPD demonstrated trends toward lower IQ scores than those with a paraphilia diagnosis only. Treatment programs can improve their chance of success by assessment of cognitive processes, and offer therapy in a style that is consistent with the cognitive abilities of their clients. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Sexual Abuse A Journal of Research and Treatment 02/2015; DOI:10.1177/1079063215570757 · 2.28 Impact Factor


Available from
May 29, 2014