envelope Contact 

Pedophilia and the brain: The three big questions now asked and answered

James M. Cantor

Multiple neuroimaging techniques have now been applied in examining samples of pedophiles. These have included both structural MRI and functional MRI, as well as highly specialized procedures, such as diffusion tensor imaging and functional connectivity analysis. This review will apply the currently accumulated evidence to inform three fundamental questions: (1) How does brain structure differ in pedophiles versus non-pedophiles?  (2) Do pedophiles’ brains respond to erotic stimuli in the same way as non-pedophiles’? (3) Can brains scans be used as a diagnostic instrument, like penile plethysmography (PPG)?


James Cantor, PhD, CPsych has been studying the neurobiology of pedophilia and other atypical sexual interests for 20 years. The results of his program of research and its implications are widely cited and were featured in highly acclaimed 2016 documentary, I, Pedophile. Dr. Cantor’s career posts have included Senior Scientist at the Centre for Addition and Mental Health (Toronto, Canada), Editor-in-Chief of Sexual Abuse(official journal of the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers), and Director of the Toronto Sexuality Centre (Toronto, Ontario).