As a sexual abuse claims lawyer I have learned more than I want to about the deviancies that cause adults to prey on children. New research coming out of the University of Toronto suggests that Pedophilia may be the result of predisposed brain deficiencies, meaning they were born ‘wired’ that way.
As this video explains, for two years, researchers scanned the brains of pedophilic men using Functional MRI machines. The researchers discovered that, when compared to other men, pedophilic men had significantly less tissue in two regions of the brain. These tissue areas are responsible for connecting other brain regions. The researchers conclude:
This suggests the possibility that sexual attraction to children versus adults is not caused by some difference in any one region of the brain, but in the way that multiple regions work together. Neuroscientists refer to this as a partial “disconnection syndrome.”
Interestingly, the researchers also discovered that pedophiles do not have any differences in the regions of the brain that regulate self-control or impulsivity.
Nature vs nurture?
But what about the idea that people’s upbringing and experiences shape the way they turn out? While some researchers and scientists believe that people may be predisposed to pedophilia, many psychologists and sexologists believe that pedophilia is a result of one’s life experiences.
One of the general theories is that our sexuality matures as we age, and that people who are pedophiles have suffered some events in their childhood which have stunted the evolution of their sexuality.
In a previous article I asked the question: “Does the Catholic Church attract sexual abusers… or create them?” Dr. Richard Cravatts offers a theory that is very similar to the popular ‘nurture’ theory. He says “the process of accepting celibacy and entering the priesthood at an emotionally immature age level predispose priests to conflicting notions about human sexuality…”
Another theory is that the Church (and other positions of authority) tends to attract those who were already predisposed to pedophilia. The institutional structure of the Catholic Church provides an opportunity for those with pedophilic tendencies to attract, groom, manipulate and abuse their victims (as was noted by the Supreme Court of Canada in Doe v. Bennett).
The research continues…
There is no definitive answer just yet as to what causes pedophilia. The hope is we can eventually identify individuals who are likely to offend and apply corrective therapy to prevent any harm.
James Cantor, the researcher from the University of Toronto, believes that the technology already exists for creating such a diagnostic test. He is confident that we will see some promising developments in the next few years.
Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below.