Article

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: 1.54). 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.

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    ABSTRACT: Child molesters (n=13) and sexually non-deviant subjects (n=29) were immersed with virtual characters depicting relevant sexual features while their sexual arousal and gaze behaviour were assessed to characterize their sexual preferences and intentional dynamics. Sexual arousal was measured using circumferential penile plethysmography (PPG). Gaze behaviour dynamics was derived from average gaze radial angular deviation (GRAD) and GRAD coefficient of variation (GRADCV). Results show distinct sexual arousal profiles according to sexual preferences and point towards the existence of specific gaze behaviour dynamics guided by sexual intentions. Theoretical interpretations are based on the ecological psychology of J.J. Gibson and the integrated theory of sexual offending (Ward, 2009; Ward & Beech, 2006). Theoretical underpinnings coming from these approaches are advocated as being especially well suited to explain how virtual reality can help probing into child molesters' phenomenology as lived from the first-person stance.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract The eye movements and penile responses of 20 male participants were recorded while they were immersed with virtual sexual stimuli. These participants were divided into two groups according to their capacity to focus their attention in immersion (high and low focus). In order to understand sexual self-regulation better, we subjected participants to three experimental conditions: (a) immersion with a preferred sexual stimulus, without sexual inhibition; (b) immersion with a preferred sexual stimulus, with sexual inhibition; and (c) immersion with a neutral stimulus. A significant difference was observed between the effects of each condition on erectile response and scanpath. The groups differed on self-regulation of their erectile responses and on their scanpath patterns. High focus participants had more difficulties than low focus participants with inhibiting their sexual responses and displayed less scattered eye movement trajectories over the critical areas of the virtual sexual stimuli. Results are interpreted in terms of sexual self-regulation and cognitive absorption in virtual immersion. In addition, the use of validated virtual sexual stimuli is presented as a methodological improvement over static and moving pictures, since it paves the way for the study of the role of social interaction in an ecologically valid and well-controlled way.
    Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 10/2013; · 2.41 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Child molesters (n=13) and sexually non-deviant subjects (n=29) were immersed with virtual characters depicting relevant sexual features while their sexual arousal and gaze behaviour were assessed to characterise their sexual preferences and intentional dynamics. Sexual arousal was measured using circumferential penile plethysmography (PPG). Gaze behaviour dynamics were derived from average gaze radial angular deviation (GRAD) and GRAD coefficient of variation (GRADCV). Results show distinct sexual arousal profiles according to sexual preferences and point towards the existence of specific gaze behaviour dynamics guided by sexual intentions. Theoretical interpretations are based on the ecological psychology of J. J. Gibson, the extended mind theory and the integrated theory of sexual offending. Theoretical underpinnings stemming from these approaches are advocated as being especially well suited to explain how virtual reality can help probing into child molesters’ phenomenology as lived from the “first-person” stance.
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