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
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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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Available from: Christian C Joyal, Jan 18, 2014
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    • "claim that acquired paedophilia can be predicted solely on the basis of a specific pathognomonic or an exclusive neurobiological cause (Joyal, Black, and Dassylva 2007). The hypersexual disorder needs to be understood within a multidimensional framework with several factors interacting with each other (psychological, environmental , social, cognitive capacities, testosterone levels, dopaminergic rewarding system, etc.). "

    Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 07/2015; 12(3). DOI:10.1007/s11673-015-9647-3 · 0.75 Impact Factor
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    • "In contrast, the insula seed was consistently associated with " action execution " in the BrainMap database. Hence, the morphological alteration of this region seems to contribute to the well-known executive deficits, most notably in sustained and response inhibition, in pedophiles [Joyal et al., 2007; Schiffer and Vonlaufen, 2011; Suchy et al., 2009; Tost et al., 2004]. This causal connection is strengthened by the FC of the insula seed with key structures for cognitive and motor control such as inferior frontal gyrus, supplementary motor area, midcingulate cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia, and cerebellum (cf. "

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    • "Findings from neuropsychological studies on paedophilia are heterogeneous. Whilst a lower IQ [3], educational difficulties [4] and a higher rate of left-handedness [5] indicate rather generalised brain dysfunction, other studies suggest more specific alterations like focal weaknesses in frontal-executive [6,7] and/or temporal-verbal [8] skills or even a more deliberate response style and greater self-monitoring in paedophilic subjects [9,10]. Furthermore revealed research on personality traits in paedophilia various findings like impaired interpersonal functions, impaired self-awareness, disinhibitory traits, sociopathy and a propensity for cognitive distortions [11]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Most neuroimaging studies investigating sexual arousal in paedophilia used erotic pictures together with a blocked fMRI design and long stimulus presentation time. While this approach allows the detection of sexual arousal, it does not enable the assessment of the immediate processing of erotically salient stimuli. Our study aimed to identify neuronal networks related to the immediate processing of erotic stimuli in heterosexual male paedophiles and healthy age-matched controls. Methods We presented erotic pictures of prepubescent children and adults in an event related fMRI-design to eight paedophilic subjects and age-matched controls. Results Erotic pictures of females elicited more activation in the right temporal lobe, the right parietal lobe and both occipital lobes and erotic pictures of children activated the right dorsomedial prefrontal cortex in both groups. An interaction of sex, age and group was present in the right anteriolateral oribitofrontal cortex. Conclusions Our event related study design confirmed that erotic pictures activate some of the brain regions already known to be involved in the processing of erotic pictures when these are presented in blocks. In addition, it revealed that erotic pictures of prepubescent children activate brain regions critical for choosing response strategies in both groups, and that erotically salient stimuli selectively activate a brain region in paedophilic subjects that had previously been attributed to reward and punishment, and that had been shown to be implicated in the suppression of erotic response and deception.
    BMC Psychiatry 03/2013; 13(1):88. DOI:10.1186/1471-244X-13-88 · 2.21 Impact Factor
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