Health And Wellness

The 2 Physical Traits Pedophiles Have In Common, Says Study

Photo: Sander van der Werf / Shutterstock
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Researchers have been looking into what causes someone to have pedophilic tendencies, how to spot someone with them, and how to stop someone from acting on their urges to rape.

In 2015, research from the University of Windsor in Canada found two traits that are common among pedophiles: left-handedness and superficial facial flaws, which are also known as Minor Physical Anomalies or MPAs.

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These flaws include non-detached earlobes, malformed ears, or a high or steepled palate. They can also include a curved fifth finger, furrowed tongue, an excessive gap between the first and second toe, and a third toe that's longer than the second toe.

These are traits people are born with and are usually developed in the early second trimester in the womb. The causes for this include exposing the fetus to viruses, alcohol or drugs, obstetric complications, or nutritional deficiencies.

These MPAs are also more commonly found in men, suggesting that the male brain is more predisposed to events during prenatal development that are disruptive. 

"Evidence is steadily accumulating to support a neurodevelopmental basis of pedophilia," lead researcher Fiona Dyshniku said in a statement. "If we find that pedophilia has a biological basis, with a very early, even prenatal onset, this will influence and hopefully improve methods of treatment for this group."

The conclusions came after 140 men from Kurt Freund Laboratory of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto were evaluated for physical anomalies, their dominant hand, and their illegal sexual behavior.

"If we know more about the etiology of an injurious behavior, we can create more effective treatments and look toward prevention," explains Rachel Fazio, clinical neuropsychologist and co-author of the study. "For years, it was thought that child molestation was somewhat of a learned behavior, 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."

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University of Toronto psychiatry professor James Cantor had also found similar research. He found that pedophiles have a lack of connection between separate parts of their brains.

He explained that it's as if their "responses are cross-wired so that when they see a child, their brain 'triggers the sex response system instead of the parental, nurturing system.'"

Cantor also found that 30 to 35 percent of pedophiles are left-handed in addition to discovering that they are often 10 to 15 IQ points lower than the average person and are also shorter in height than a typical male. 

This research had helped to add to an already growing amount of evidence suggesting that pedophilia develops during the prenatal period and around the same time that physical flaws, such as the ones described in the study, begin to develop. 

Hopefully, the more we understand what causes pedophilia, the sooner we can find a way to protect children from becoming victimized.

Of course, just because someone has non-detached earlobes or is left-handed does not mean they have these tendencies. The research is only intended to show that science is closer to finding links that can help us spot and treat these behaviors in the future.

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Nicole Weaver is a love and entertainment writer.