Pedophiles’ Brains Show Abnormal Reaction to Children’s Faces

criminalbrainThis kind of organic brain response is both bad news and good news: The bad news – especially for now – is that pedophilia might be hardwired in the brain. The good news – probably for the future – is that if science can decipher the workings of this organic machinery, then it might lead to ways to fix it.*

The brain circuits that respond to faces and sex appear to activate abnormally in pedophiles when they look at children’s faces, scientists say.

These new findings could lead to novel ways to diagnose pedophiles, and could shed light on the evolutionary roots of sex, the researchers added.

In the animal kingdom, there may be a number of mechanisms preventing adults from attempting sex with children. For example, “pheromones emitted by child mice inhibit sexual behavior of adult male mice,” said lead study author Jorge Ponseti, a sex researcher at Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Germany. “If scientists inhibited these pheromones in the child mice, adult male mice started to mate with these babies.”

Roots of a pedophile

To learn more about the roots of abnormal attraction to children in humans, the researchers scanned the brains of 56 men — 11 heterosexual pedophiles, 13 homosexual pedophiles, 18 nonpedophile heterosexuals and 14 nonpedophile homosexuals — using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). [The Sex Quiz: Myths, Taboos and Bizarre Facts]

The institute where Ponseti and his colleagues work offers pedophilic men free and totally anonymous psychiatric treatment. “We asked some of these men if they were willing to participate in our study,” Ponseti said. “Others came to us because a judge told them to do psychotherapy.”

As the researchers scanned the brains of the volunteers, they briefly flashed pictures of men’s, women’s, boys’ and girls’ faces at the volunteers in random order. The researchers asked the men to rate the attractiveness of each face after the brain scans.

In the men who were attracted to adults, images of adult faces activated a number of brain regions significantly more than child faces did. These areas of the brain, such as occipital areas, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the putamen and nucleus caudatus, are known to help people respond to both faces and sexual behavior. These same regions were significantly more active in pedophiles when they were shown child faces than when they were shown adult faces.

Testing pedophilia

These findings could help lead to a reliable test for pedophilia based on brain responses to child faces, Ponseti said.

via Pedophiles’ Brains Show Abnormal Reaction to Kids’ Faces | LiveScience.


*There are those who argue that pedophilia is an acceptable and healthy sexual identity that doesn’t need to be “fixed.” I am not one of them.

10 Comments on "Pedophiles’ Brains Show Abnormal Reaction to Children’s Faces"

  1. “Pedophiles’ Brains Show Abnormal Reaction to Children’s Faces”


    Not that im defending pedophiles but if people actually think that someone would some how actively choose to be sexually aroused by a child then they are a moron. They are probably the same group of ignorant fucks that think homosexuality is a choice as well. How dumb do you have to be to think you choose what turns you on sexually or not? If that was true I could wake up and be like hmm what am I going to choose today to give me a boner? How about cellphones? Or chairs? Or maybe dogs? How about everything? Or maybe nothing?

    • Anarchy Pony | May 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm |

      Arousal is certainly beyond conscious control that’s for sure. It can be influenced by it through fetishisation, but ultimately it’s beyond control.

    • I don’t think we really have much of a choice about what turns us on, sexually or otherwise. But, we absolutely do have a choice in how we behave.

  2. So, what’s next? The Clockwork Orange conditioning?

  3. InfvoCuernos | May 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm |

    So the real question is if those pedophile priests will use this as an excuse for their behavior?

    • When the catholic church just pays off victims familys to stay hush hush and they move the priest to a different location then you dont really need excuses.

  4. cybernetichero | Jul 24, 2014 at 3:13 am |

    Herein lies the dilemma with the legal system. Is it right to punish someone if their behaviour is a symptom of a mental pathology. I’m not defending the behaviour but it seems to me that the legal system is foundering on this issue because we are talking about sick people. This reveals the mediaeval nature of our legal system which assumes that every breach of the law is a failure of some (mythical) morality. When the “Victim” and the “offender” are on the edges of the local age of consent this becomes more blurry. Young folly should not be treated the same way as adult pathology. Force and violence are another issue entirely.

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