, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 447-459

Handedness in Pedophilia and Hebephilia

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Abstract

A sample of 404 adult men underwent assessment following illegal or clinically significant sexual behaviors or interests. Patients’ assessments included: administration of a modified version of the Edinburgh Handedness Inventory; recording of patients’ phallometric (penile) responses to erotic stimuli depicting adults, pubescent children, and prepubescent children of both sexes; and a tabulation of the numbers of patients’ victims, ages 0–11, 12–14, 15–16, and 17 and older, of both sexes. In Study 1, patients’ right-handedness scores correlated negatively with their phallometric responses to stimuli depicting prepubescent children and positively with stimuli depicting adults, replicating the pattern described in a previous report (Cantor et al., 2004). Unlike the previous study, however, patients’ handedness scores did not significantly correlate with their numbers of prepubescent victims. To explore this discrepancy, Study 2 combined the patients from this replication sample with those in the previously reported sample, categorizing them by the sex and age group of greatest erotic interest to them. The odds of non-right-handedness in men offending predominantly against prepubescent children were approximately two-fold higher than that in men offending predominantly against adults and three-fold higher after eliminating those men with intrafamilial (i.e., incest) offenses. Handedness differences between men erotically interested in males versus females were not statistically significant. These results indicate that the rates of non-right-handedness in pedophilia are much larger than previously suggested and are comparable to the rates observed in pervasive developmental disorders, such as autism, suggesting a neurological component to the development of pedophilia and hebephilia.