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: 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.

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Available from: Christian C Joyal, Jan 18, 2014
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    • "For example, recent fMRI studies have suggested functional differences in selective neural pathways in victims of CSA, including greater engagement of emotion and salience processing regions, and less engagement of executive function and cognitive control regions (Rauch, Shin, & Phelps, 2006; Rauch et al., 2000; Shin et al., 2001; Shin et al., 2005). In addition, morphological abnormalities have been identified in adult pedophiles when compared with the general population and non-sexualoffenders , such as more diffuse white and gray matter hypodensities; reductions in the volume of limbic structures, particularly the right amygdala; and neurodevelopmental abnormalities in the temporal and frontal regions of the brain that are responsible for sexual arousal and behavior inhibition (Cantor & Blanchard, 2012; Cantor et al., 2008; L. J. Cohen et al., 2002; Joyal, Black, & Dassylva, 2007; Kargel et al., 2015; Poeppl et al., 2015; Roszyk & Lukaszewska, 2011; Schiffer et al., 2007; Wright, Nobrega, Langevin, & Wortzman, 1990). "
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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.). "
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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 wellknown executive deficits, most notably in sustained and response inhibition, in pedophiles [Joyal et al., 2007;. 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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