Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 313–336

Heterosexual Male Perpetrators of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Preliminary Neuropsychiatric Model


  • Lisa J. Cohen
    • Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Konstantin Nikiforov
    • Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Sniezyna Gans
    • Montefiore Medical Center
  • Olga Poznansky
  • Pamela McGeoch
    • New School for Social Research
  • Carrie Weaver
    • Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Enid Gertmanian King
    • Beth Israel Medical Center
  • Ken Cullen
    • CAP Behavioral Associates
  • Igor Galynker
    • Beth Israel Medical Center

DOI: 10.1023/A:1020416101092

Cite this article as:
Cohen, L.J., Nikiforov, K., Gans, S. et al. Psychiatr Q (2002) 73: 313. doi:10.1023/A:1020416101092


This paper presents data from a series of prelimary neuropsychiatric studies, including neuropsychological, personality, sexual history, plethysmographic and neuroimaging investigations, on a sample of 22 male, heterosexual, nonexclusive pedophiles and 24 demographically similar healthy controls. A psychobiological model of pedophilia is proposed, positing that early childhood sexual abuse leads to neurodevelopmental abnormalities in the temporal regions mediating sexual arousal and erotic discrimination and the frontal regions mediating the cognitive aspects of sexual desire and behavioral inhibition. In this way, pedophiles develop deviant pedophilic arousal. Subsequently, if there is comorbid personality pathology, specifically sociopathy and cognitive distortions, there will be failure to inhibit pedophilic behavior.

pedophiliasexual abusebrain imagingpersonalityneuropsychiatry
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© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002