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Response inhibition in pedophilia: an FMRI pilot study


Habermeyer, Benedikt; Esposito, Fabrizio; Händel, Nadja; Lemoine, Patrick; Kuhl, Hans Christian; Klarhöfer, Markus; Mager, Ralph; Mokros, Andreas; Dittmann, Volker; Seifritz, Erich; Graf, Marc (2013). Response inhibition in pedophilia: an FMRI pilot study. Neuropsychobiology, 68(4):228-237.

Abstract

Background: The failure to inhibit pleasurable but inappropriate urges is associated with frontal lobe pathology and has been suggested as a possible cause of pedophilic behavior. However, imaging and neuropsychological findings about frontal pathology in pedophilia are heterogeneous. In our study we therefore address inhibition behaviorally and by means of functional imaging, aiming to assess how inhibition in pedophilia is related to a differential recruitment of frontal brain areas. Method: Eleven pedophilic subjects and 7 nonpedophilic controls underwent fMRI while performing a go/no-go task composed of neutral letters. Results: Pedophilic subjects showed a slower reaction time and less accurate visual target discrimination. fMRI voxel-level ANOVA revealed as a main effect of the go/no-go task an activation of prefrontal and parietal brain regions in the no-go condition, while the left anterior cingulate, precuneus and gyrus angularis became more activated in the go condition. In addition, a group × task interaction was found in the left precuneus and gyrus angularis. This interaction was based on an attenuated deactivation of these brain regions in the pedophilic group during performance of the no-go condition. The positive correlation between blood oxygen level-dependent imaging signal and reaction time in these brain areas indicates that attenuated deactivation is related to the behavioral findings. Conclusion: Slower reaction time and less accurate visual target discrimination in pedophilia was accompanied by attenuated deactivation of brain areas belonging to the default mode network. Our findings thus support the notion that behavioral differences might also derive from self-related processes and not necessarily from frontal lobe pathology.

Abstract

Background: The failure to inhibit pleasurable but inappropriate urges is associated with frontal lobe pathology and has been suggested as a possible cause of pedophilic behavior. However, imaging and neuropsychological findings about frontal pathology in pedophilia are heterogeneous. In our study we therefore address inhibition behaviorally and by means of functional imaging, aiming to assess how inhibition in pedophilia is related to a differential recruitment of frontal brain areas. Method: Eleven pedophilic subjects and 7 nonpedophilic controls underwent fMRI while performing a go/no-go task composed of neutral letters. Results: Pedophilic subjects showed a slower reaction time and less accurate visual target discrimination. fMRI voxel-level ANOVA revealed as a main effect of the go/no-go task an activation of prefrontal and parietal brain regions in the no-go condition, while the left anterior cingulate, precuneus and gyrus angularis became more activated in the go condition. In addition, a group × task interaction was found in the left precuneus and gyrus angularis. This interaction was based on an attenuated deactivation of these brain regions in the pedophilic group during performance of the no-go condition. The positive correlation between blood oxygen level-dependent imaging signal and reaction time in these brain areas indicates that attenuated deactivation is related to the behavioral findings. Conclusion: Slower reaction time and less accurate visual target discrimination in pedophilia was accompanied by attenuated deactivation of brain areas belonging to the default mode network. Our findings thus support the notion that behavioral differences might also derive from self-related processes and not necessarily from frontal lobe pathology.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:14 Feb 2014 11:35
Last Modified:09 Jun 2016 09:30
Publisher:Karger
ISSN:0302-282X
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1159/000355295
PubMed ID:24247250

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