Pedophilia and Brain Function


  • Po Liu University of British Columbia Faculty of Arts Department of Psychology


pedophilia, brain function, neurobiology, neurology


Pedophilia is defined as a sexual deviation in which an individual becomes sexually attracted to a prepubescent child. With high prevalence rates and growing public concern, there has been a need to empirically investigate the neuropsychological basis of pedophilic behavior. This review examines the resulting research starting with the differences shown by pedophilic individuals in IQ with the normal population. It follows to emphasize that all of findings may contain an innate bias due to the social denigration that is attached with research conducted on known pedophiles. The current understanding of the onset of pedophilia points to abnormal brain morphological development: a discussion between the frontal/dysexecutive hypothesis and the temporal/limbic hypothesis illustrates that neurological structures that may be associated with and account for pedophilia. Morphological differences between pedophilic individuals and non-pedophilic individuals are further substantiated by the link between left-handedness and a diagnosis of pedophilia. Developmental reports of head injuries further support this claim as pedophiles are more likely to have experienced head trauma at an early age. Modern brain imaging studies have enabled researchers to identify that those diagnosed with pedophiles have altered brain activity when presented with sexual stimuli in comparison with those not diagnosed.

Author Biography

Po Liu, University of British Columbia Faculty of Arts Department of Psychology

Undergraduate student in the Dual Degree Program in Computer Engineering and Psychology at the University of British Columbia.


Additional Files





Clinical - Literature Review