Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 313–336 | Cite as

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

  • Lisa J. Cohen
  • Konstantin Nikiforov
  • Sniezyna Gans
  • Olga Poznansky
  • Pamela McGeoch
  • Carrie Weaver
  • Enid Gertmanian King
  • Ken Cullen
  • Igor Galynker


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.

pedophilia sexual abuse brain imaging personality neuropsychiatry 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa J. Cohen
    • 1
  • Konstantin Nikiforov
    • 1
  • Sniezyna Gans
    • 2
  • Olga Poznansky
    • 3
  • Pamela McGeoch
    • 4
  • Carrie Weaver
    • 1
  • Enid Gertmanian King
    • 1
  • Ken Cullen
    • 5
  • Igor Galynker
    • 1
  1. 1.Beth Israel Medical CenterNew York
  2. 2.Montefiore Medical CenterBronx
  3. 3.New York
  4. 4.New School for Social ResearchNew York
  5. 5.CAP Behavioral AssociatesBrooklyn

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