Pedophiles` brains go abnormal in presence of kids: Study

IANS| Last Updated: May 26, 2014, 17:49 PM IST
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London: Soon, there could be a test to determine if a person is sexually oriented towards children as researchers have now discovered that some areas of the brains in pedophiles activate abnormally when they see faces of children.

"It is important to find out if an adult's brain shows an increased response to child faces because they are normally constantly exposed to child faces and not because they are pedophiles - for instance, if they are teachers, or someone who works with children," said Jorge Ponseti, a sex researcher at Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel in Germany.

The study involved scanning the brains of 56 men - 11 heterosexual pedophiles, 13 homosexual pedophiles, 18 nonpedophile heterosexuals and 14 nonpedophile homosexuals - using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

As the researchers scanned the brains of the volunteers, they briefly flashed pictures of men's, women's, boys' and girls' faces at the volunteers in random order.

The researchers asked the men to rate the attractiveness of each face after the brain scans.

In the men who were attracted to adults, images of adult faces activated a number of brain regions significantly more than child faces did.

These areas of the brain, such as occipital areas, the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex, the putamen and nucleus caudatus, are known to help people respond to both faces and sexual behaviour.

These same regions were significantly more active in pedophiles when they were shown child faces than when they were shown adult faces.

The study appeared in the journal Biology Letters.