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J Sex Med. 2011 Jun;8(6):1650-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2009.01564.x. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

Neurocognitive and personality factors in homo- and heterosexual pedophiles and controls.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry, and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, University of Hannover, Hannover, Germany. krueger.tillmann@mh-hannover.de



Several neuropsychological studies have suggested an association between pedophilia, neurocognitive disturbances, and specific personality profiles. However, inconsistencies in the findings have not been explained sufficiently, because many studies did not control for possible confounding factors, such as age, education level, or gender orientation.


Therefore, the present investigation examined neurocognitive performance and personality profiles in pedophiles in dependence of sexual gender preferences and sexual deviance, as well as with regard to age and education level.


Scores on the different neurocognitive tests, personality questionnaires, and Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)-IV (SCID) interviews.


An extensive neurocognitive test battery (including a reduced version of the German Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, the Wisconsin card-sorting test, d2 Attention-Deficit Test, and the Corsi block-tapping test) as well as two personality questionnaires (Minnessota Multiphasic Personality Inventory [MMPI-2] and the Multiphasic Sex Inventory [MSI]) were used to examine a consecutive sample of 20 psychiatrically assessed (SCID I and II) pedophile inpatients (nine exclusively attracted to females and 11 to males) from two high security forensic hospitals and 28 healthy controls (14 heterosexual, 14 homosexual).


Compared with controls, pedophiles showed neurocognitive impairments and personality specifics in the majority of tests and questionnaires, such as reduced values on the intelligence scale and weaker performances in information processing, together with high scores for psychopathy and paranoia, and signs of sexual obsessiveness and sexual dysfunction. In contrast to previous reports, some of these alterations were at least partly explained by factors other than pedophilia, such as education level or age.


These alterations may be seen to be in line with the hypothesis of a perturbation of neurodevelopment in early life. These results enhance our knowledge about pedophilia-associated impairment in neurocognitive functioning and personality structure insofar as they allow a more detailed description of, and insight into, modulatory factors.

© 2009 International Society for Sexual Medicine.

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