Send to

Choose Destination
Med Hypotheses. 2004;63(3):528-31.

Pedophilia: neuropsychological evidence encouraging a brain network perspective.

Author information

Central Institute of Mental Health, NMR-Research in Psychiatry, P.O. Box 122120, 68072 Mannheim, Germany.


Although the vast majority of current pathogenetic theories support a neurobiological understanding of psychiatric disorders, the brain functional correlates of pedophilia are largely unknown. Based on prior behavior genetics research on human sexual orientation and phenomenology as well as the phenotypical intersection of pedophilia with other psychiatric spectrum disorders, we hypothesize the involvement of striato-thalamo-cortical processing loops in the formation of pedophilic urges and behaviors. Data from a current neuropsychological pilot study in four pedophiles encourage our brain functional perspective. As deduced from the network model, all four patients exhibited pronounced and circumscribed deficits in cognitive domains mediated by striato-thalamically controlled areas of the frontal cortex. All patients were especially impaired in neuropsychological functions associated with the prefrontal and motor processing loops (e.g., response inhibition, working memory and cognitive flexibility), with a performance level located up to five standard deviations below the normative data. Contrary to this, neuropsychological performances in cognitive domains without a comparable high frontal loading were in all participants unobtrusive. In future, studying gene by environment interactions in combination with functional neuroimaging and neuropsychological assessment is promising to elucidate the pathophysiological relationship of psychiatric disorders that are characterized by inadequate urges and poor behavioral inhibition.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center