Research released by the Canadian Center for Addiction and Mental Health and published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research suggests that pedophilia might be the result of faulty connections in the brain. The researchers behind the study used magnetic resonance imaging and computer analysis to compare the brains of a group of pedophiles with a group of non-sexual criminals.
They found that the pedophiles had significantly less of a substance called "white matter" which is responsible for wiring the different parts of the brain together. The new study challenges the commonly held belief that pedophilia is brought on by childhood trauma or abuse and is the strongest evidence yet that pedophilia is instead the result of a problem in brain development.
The same research team has previously published findings that strongly hinted that the key to understanding pedophilia might be in how the brain develops. Pedophiles have lower IQs, are three times more likely to be left-handed, and even tend to be physically shorter than non-pedophiles.
"There is nothing in this research that says pedophiles shouldn't be held criminally responsible for their actions," said lead researcher Dr. James Cantor. "Not being able to choose your sexual interests doesn't mean you can't choose what you do."
This new study suggests that much more research attention should be paid to how the brain governs sexual interests as such information could potentially yield strategies for preventing the development of pedophilia.
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Source: Center for Addiction and Mental Health