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Sexual offending and the brain

February 15, 2011
Understanding Sexual Offending and the Brain: From the Basics to the State of the Art
Oregon Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers
Presentation by James M. Cantor, Ph.D. 02/11/11

Key points:
  • Phallometric assessment is one of the strongest predictors of sex recidivism (Hanson & Bussiere, 1998)
  • Pedophiles have lower IQ scores than hebephiles and teleiophiles (Cantor et al., 2004)
  • Pedophiles have lower verbal memory scores than hebephiles and teleiophiles (Cantor et al., 2004)
  • Pedophiles have lower visuospatial memory than hebephilies and teleiophiles (Cantor et al., 2004)
  • Pedophiles have higher rates of left handedness than hebephilies and teleiophiles (Cantor et al., 2005)
  • Pedophiles have a tendency to be shorter in physical height than hebephiles and teleiophiles (Cantor et al., 2007)
  • Cantor et al. (2008) found no difference in brain surface area using MRI's between pedophiles and nonsexual offender men
  • Cantor et al. (2008) found 4 main brain areas of sexual arousal in men: middle frontal gyrus, insula and opercula, superior/inferior parietal lobules, and occipital cortex (using fMRI)
  • Cantor et al. (2008) found that the white matter of the brain is less well formed in pedophiles than in nonsexual offender men and concluded that the "white matter tissue is insufficient for the sexual arousal network to function accurately."
  • "The white matter volume may reflect poor myelination rather than low neuronal population," (Cantor et al., 2008)



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