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Functional Neuroimaging Of Sexual Arousal: A Preliminary Meta-Analysis Comparing Pedophilic To Non-Pedophilic Men

Ariane Polisois-Keating, C. Joyal
Published 2013 · Psychology, Medicine

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Because men with pedophilia present, on average, lower IQ and neuropsychologicalperformance thannon-pedophilicmen(Cantor, Blanchard, Robichaud, & Christensen, 2005; Joyal, Black, & Dassylva, 2007) as well as structural anomalies of cerebral grey matter regions (Schiffer et al., 2007; Schiltz et al., 2007) or white matter tracts (Cantor et al., 2008; Cantor & Blanchard, 2012), a growing number of functional brain imaging studies have attempted to identify distinct patterns of brain activation associatedwithsexualarousal inpedophiles(e.g.,Poeppletal.,2011; Ponseti et al., 2012). However, an important distinction should be made between neurologicalsubstratesofsexualdevianceandneurologicalsubstratesofsexualarousal. It remainspossible thatpatternsofbrain activation associated with sexual arousal would be similar in pedophiles and non-pedophiles when each group is presented with theircorrespondingstimuli.Functionalbrain imagingstudies comparing pedophilic and non-pedophilic men often report contrasts based on non-pedophilic stimuli (e.g., Ponseti et al., 2012; Walter et al., 2007). Although that approach is invaluable to confirm a diagnosis of pedophilia, it is well known that patternsofbrainactivitycanservetoidentifysexualpreference(Costell, Lunde, Kopell, & Wittner, 1972), but this says little concerningthepatternofbrainactivationassociatedwithsexualarousal in pedophiles. As noted by Seto (2008),‘‘There is an intriguing possibility that the same areas of the brain are involved in processing of sexual stimuli by pedophiles and nonpedophiles’’ (p. 39). In order to test that possibility, brain activation in pedophiles and non-pedophiles should be compared during presentation of their preferential sexual stimuli. This was the main goal of the present meta-analysis.
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