Craniofacial Anomalies Provide More Evidence Pedophilia Develops Prenatally Interview with:
Fiona Dyshniku, M.A
Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology – Adult Clinical track
Department of Psychology
University of Windsor

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study was conducted in the context of previous research that has found other evidence that pedophilia has biological roots that start before birth, such as shorter stature and left-handedness. Both of these correlates have prenatal origins, meaning that their development necessarily precedes the onset of more socially oriented correlates, such as parenting styles, sexual abuse during childhood, etc. Moreover, these neurodevelopmental correlates appear permanent and immune to later psychosocial influences. Much like handedness and stature, minor physical anomalies (MPA) develop prenatally, are permanent, and remain immune to psychosocial influences. There are additional benefits to examining minor physical anomalies, including the fact that they tend to develop in a set sequence, are actually formed from the same tissue that gives rise to the central nervous system, and have been widely studied in other well-established neurodevelopmental disorders, such as schizophrenia.

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that individuals simultaneously possessing more craniofacial anomalies and fewer peripheral anomalies scored higher on several well-established pedophilia indices, including phallometric testing, possession of child pornography, and number of child victims. We also found that craniofacial anomalies on their own were more prevalent among individuals classified as pedophiles through phallometric testing. Taken together, these results suggest that there is further evidence for a biological cause of pedophilia. Moreover, since craniofacial anomalies develop around week 5 of gestation, it would appear that biological differences occur quite early on during foetal developmental.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: The take way message for clinicians and patients is that there is now a good amount of evidence to suggest that pedophilia or at least a propensity for it develops prenatally.

The differences are merely statistical, however. None of these correlates, be it shorter stature, left handedness, or craniofacial anomalies, together or separately, should be interpreted as tell-tale signs that someone is a pedophile. What a still-broadening field of evidence is suggesting is that people do not choose to be sexually interested in children: They discover that they are aroused by children. The best means of preventing child sexual abuse may therefore be to assist such people to deal with their sexual interests. Instead, most current policies drive these people underground and make it impossible for them to get sex-drive-reducing medications or other treatments.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We hope other researchers, especially researchers from other fields, try not only to replicate this finding, but also to identify other markers of developmental perturbations. Each of these findings is a clue to when and how pedophilia develops. We need more clues like these to narrow down the possibilities and, potentially, find a means of reducing the probability of developing pedophilia in the first place.


Minor Physical Anomalies as a Window into the Prenatal Origins of Pedophilia

Fiona Dyshniku,Michelle E. Murray,Rachel L. Fazio,Amy D. Lykins,James M. Cantor
Archives of Sexual Behavior June 2015 Date: 10 Jun 2015

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Fiona Dyshniku, M.A., Ph.D. Candidate, Clinical Psychology РAdult Clinical track, Department of Psychology, & University of Windsor (2015). Craniofacial Anomalies Provide More Evidence Pedophilia Develops Prenatally 

Last Updated on June 13, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD