- Azizian, A., Hutton, S., Hughes, D., & Sreenivasan, S. (2015). “Cognitional impairment: Is there a role for cognitive assessment in the treatment of individuals civilly committed pursuant to the Sexually Violent Predator Act?,” Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment.
This new study joins previous research in finding that pedophiles have normal IQ. The study compared a sample of 114 pedophilic sex offenders and 56 biastophilic sex offenders (non-consent paraphilia), all of whom were civilly committed as “sexually violent predators”, with healthy, non-incarcerated controls. Despite the obvious sampling bias, the pedophiles still had an average estimated full-scale IQ (101). “Contrary to previous findings, performance on intelligence (WASI) and academic achievement (WRAT4) was not different relative to the general population.” The pedophilic offenders also had half the rate of anti-social personality disorder compared to the biastophilic offenders.
The pedophilic offenders did exhibit impairments in memory. The authors suggested this could be attributed to their stressful experience in prison:
One possible explanation of this finding might be the chronic stress and the low social hierarchy experience of child molesters in prison. Incarcerated child molesters either experience or are under the threat of assault by other inmates and placed under protective custody. Chronic stress is known to produce hyperactivity in the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) system and disrupt memory and other cognitive functions (Jones & Moller, 2011; Wingenfeld & Wolf, 2011).
Schiffer & Vonlaufen (2011) previously compared the memory of pedophilic child molesters to non-pedophilic child molesters. They found that non-pedophilic child molesters showed deficits, while pedophilic child molesters did not.