Scientists in Canada have discovered that pedophiles are more likely to be left-handed, have non-detached earlobes, have malformed ears, or a high plate.
The controversial study claims that pedophilia is a biological problem and that pedophiles can be spotted simply by looking at their appearance.
Disturbingly, some scientists are suggesting that spotting the physical traits that pedophiles possess may help to “prevent crime”.
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‘Evidence is steadily accumulating to support a neurodevelopmental basis of pedophilia,’ said Fiona Dyshniku of the University of Windsor in Canada.
‘If we find that paedophilia has a biological basis, with a very early, even prenatal onset, this will influence and hopefully improve methods of treatment for this group.’
Facial anomalies could, among others, include having non-detached earlobes, malformed ears, or a high palate.
The researchers found that overall, paedophiles also have other physical irregularities known as Minor Physical Anomalies (MPAs).
MPAs can include low-set ears, a furrowed tongue, a curved fifth finger, a third toe longer than the second toe and an excessive gap between first and second toe.
These features develop during the sensitive first and early second trimesters while a baby is still in the womb.
They are created from the same primary embryonic tissue layer that gives rise to the central nervous system.
Scientists believe they develop because of a mother’s exposure to viruses, alcohol or drugs, obstetric complications, or nutritional deficiencies during pregnancy.
The abnormalities are more prevalent among men, which might mean that the male brain is more susceptible to disruptive events during prenatal development.
‘If we know more about the etiology of an injurious behaviour, we can create more effective treatments and look toward prevention,’ says Rachel Fazio, clinical neuropsychologist and co-author of the study.
‘For years, it was thought that child molestation was somewhat of a learned behaviour, potentially from the abusers having been sexually abused themselves as children.
‘While this may be a factor in some cases, this is not the case in those with genuine pedophilia.’
The 140 consenting participants who took part in the study were referred had all shown signs of ‘distressing or illegal sexual behaviour.’
The sexological assessment was made up of a forensic and medical file review, an interview spanning offense and sexual history, and a test for erotic preference.
The presence of specific physical features and participants’ right or left handedness were also tested.
The findings suggest that the pedophiles who participated in the study were more likely to have minor facial and head anomalies than was the case for men who were not pedophiles.
The features more obvious on the head than elsewhere on the body.
Previous research by James Cantor, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Toronto. Cantor found pedophiles have a lack of connection between separate parts of the brain.
Dr Cantor said that when men find women sexually attractive, they unconsciously lower their voices and widen their stance, whereas when they talk to children their voices become higher.
He explained that instead of evoking the typical responses that men exhibit when seeing a child, ‘it’s as if [paedophiles’] responses are cross-wired’ so that when they see a child, their brain ‘triggers the sex response system instead of the parental, nurturing system’.
Dr Cantor also said that paedophiles tend to be between 10 and 15 IQ points lower than average and are typically 2.5cm shorter than a typical male.
‘Two-and-a-half centimetres in physiological terms in very, very large – double the effect we would see if a woman smoked when she was pregnant,’ he said.
Interestingly, like the latest study, Dr Cantor discovered that 30 to 35 per cent of paedophiles are left-handed.