Making sense of James Cantor's research

James Cantor's articles are heavily discussed in the pedophile community. He is a researcher at CAMH and carries out research using forensic samples, meaning men who are caught in the legal system. Among his findings are that on average: their IQ is lower, they are missing white matter, they are shorter, have craniofacial anomalies and shorter legs. Of course the tall, smart, beautiful pedos cry out.  His articles are scrutinized and critiques have been written pointing out holes. Ok, i might be too stupid to date women, but how exactly do short legs cause pedophilia? Craniofacial anomalies or simply ugliness might ruin my chances of getting laid, but i would still chase women and not children. What could be behind all those research findings?


Many researchers look to chimpanzees and bonobos, our closest cousins in the animal kingdom, for some clues. Other sex researchers like Jim Pfaus use rats to study sexual behavior. However, there is one huge difference between most animals and humans. Humans are neotenous, more than cats and dogs. Neoteny means the retention of juvenile features. It does not mean that adults look childish. It means that without neoteny our heads should look much more like grown up chimpanzees and not like those of chimpanzee babies. We should have larger teeth, a smaller brain, and a bigger fang.

There is little to be found on the internet how neoteny manifests itself. The best explanation is a retarded development, meaning that all developmental processes run with a much reduced speed. Different processes run at different speeds. Some processes never finish, like the skull bone fusion which still goes on in the ninth decade. Compared with the mammal model, human processes take 5 to 15 times more time. According to that model, humans should be born after 21 month of gestation. Since the head would be too big by then, humans are born at the latest possible moment, when the baby's head just passes through the birth canal. After birth the baby continues to grow at the same rate for the next year. One of the processes taking longer time is the brain maturation, 90% completed by age 10, but almost finished first in the mid-twenties, give or take a few years.

Human instincts

Psychologist Abraham Maslow argued that humans no longer have instincts because we have the ability to override them in certain situations. The criteria for instincts cited in this wikipedia article create a false dichotomy. Either it's an instinct or should be considered a drive, but the latter is defined much different by Drive theory. The biggest counter argument against the non-existence of instincts is the fact that psychology works. Psychology works because human behavior follows rules. Patients in psychiatric care have difficulties overriding certain "innate behavior" (aka instincts). Probably the reason for the renaming into "innate behavior" might be related to the illusion of a free will. Free will denotes the idea that humans can do and behave in the way they want, ultimately meaning that all actions are deliberate and thought through.

During the human evolution the increasing intelligence made us to a lesser degree the marionettes of instincts. The notion of free will represents the ultimate end of this development.  This development will affect all instincts, some more other less. Some instincts are necessary for the survival of the species, like the sexual mating instinct. Hence, the human evolution weakened those instincts to the point where they are just strong enough for the genes to survive. Evolution works by variation: some get stronger, while others get weaker instincts. Those men, who have sex with strange women when completely drunk, got a higher amount of sexual mating instincts. Those, who develop a paraphilia instead of a healthy heterosexuality, probably got less than necessary. As a consequence, the appearance of not sufficiently strong enough instincts is part of evolution. Basically, this means that those instincts get overridden before they manifest themselves.

The link between instincts and neoteny lies in the way our brain develops. Most animals are born with most instincts functioning. Their brains are fully myelinated at birth, while humans are born with mostly unmyelinated brains. During the first years the myelination takes place. That means neuroglia cells are formed and their fatty parts show up as white spots on T1-sMRI. Neuroglia cells are shielding the axons of neurons, hence they are part of the white matter or the so called connecting tissue. Neoteny delays the manifestation of instincts. However, it seems that there are critical periods during the development. If a skill or behavior is not learned during such a time window, it is hard if not impossible to catch up.

The research findings

One of the better known results regarding pedophiles is the missing white matter. Sometimes it is also referred to as cross-wiring, since the researchers believe that instead of parental instincts, sexual instincts are activated. This is an overly simplistic view and there is no explanation why the cable instead of going to A goes to B instead. If it were a random cross-wiring, we should see an activation of the whole spectrum of instincts.

The craniofacial findings point to prenatal events, also called prenatal insults. Skin cells and neurons differentiate in the same way during embryogenesis before the blastula folds inwards and the spinal cord and brain are formed. If the development of skin cells gets disturbed during that period, it is likely that it affected neural cells as well. The observed correlation has been interpreted as an indicator for prenatal causes of pedophilia. Another anomaly is the testosterone level during certain critical prenatal periods. Getting the wrong amount of it and something goes wrong. It has been experimentally shown in rats (Jim Pfaus & Co) and there has been a longitudinal study in Denmark confirming it.

I'm wondering, whether the testosterone level in humans is similar to other mammals. The slowed down development in humans is caused by something or something necessary for the development is absent. Gaffney and Berlin reported a dysfunction of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis in pedophiles, which again is important for testosterone levels. Testosterone breaks down into estradiol, which seem to have far reaching influence.

The latest papers propose a disturbance in the development to be the cause for some paraphilias. If we add the reasonable assumption that exclusive pedophiles are not interested in women, then we can conclude that the heterosexual instinct did not manifest itself. The development of the human sexual mating instinct, aka heterosexual orientation, got derailed. As with train derailments there might be multiple ways of that happening. This is the reason why some meta-studies report many different and sometimes conflicting results. Trains can go with a high velocity into a tight turn, rails can be deformed, the rail bed can have broken away, the wheels might lose contact, the bogie can oscillate - all of them possible causes for a train derailment.

Non-exclusive pedophile men are attracted to women, hence there is a working instinct, but the erotic attraction includes more than women. Normally, only the sight or scent of women should cause arousal. This arousal seems to be learned - clues of the preferred partner get erotized. John Money calls this disturbance a vandalization of the lovemap, which are supposedly formed around the age of 6. This would implicate events in early childhood as possible causes. Again weak instincts might have enable those developments, since they didn't offer much resistance to aberration.

Weak human instincts are not mainstream psychology. Common for paraphilia is the absence of a healthy heterosexual orientation. Hence, it seems kinda obvious to assume that something went wrong with the heterosexual mating instinct. This assumption is simple, it is supported by human evolution, the existence of human neoteny and the limited degree of free will among humans. So instincts failed to work as they should. I call it the faulty neoteny hypothesis.


This is amateur research, making sense of research papers. As such it is not backed by a financed scientific study, but based on logic and scientific literature. As an amateur i'm free to pursue ideas that are not mainstream.


  1. Pedophiles are allegedly different from the general population? According to some studies they are supposed to have a lower IQ, are smaller and have less white brain matter?
    How convenient since, of course, everyone knows that there has to be something wrong with them.
    If you search for something, you'll find it, no matter if it is really there or just in your own imagination.

    I'm always very sceptical when hearing about research that confirms common sense and the public opinion, especially if the subject is political and/or social.

    Maybe James Cantor is right. However, his research is flawed so it cannot help to find an answer.

    There are some studies that contradict his findings and are as far as I know more representative but they could be wrong either.

    So until more studies are conducted we just have to guess ad try at best as we can to make logical conclusions (which could be proven wrong by future research).

    I see it like this: Every sexual feeling is normal and natural. The sexaulity of a person is influenced by genetics and maybe also early childhood experience. Nevertheless I highly doubt that pedophilia (or teleiophilia or asexuality or zoophilia or any other sexuality/sexual feeling/sexual orientation) is caused by bad experience. I'd say it just coincidence.
    A child e.g. could see gay porn once a week and nonetheless the probability of him/her being gay/bi wouldn't increase. I don't think abuse or a bad nutrition in childhood has anything to do with the sexuality of a person.

    Some people just like to divide humans in different categories. In the past it were the men and the women, then the Jews and the Christians. Then it were the black and the white, and just some decades ago the gays and the straights.
    All the prejudices turned out be be lies: Women are as smart as men and are now entitled to vote and to study at universities. Jews aren't greedy. Black people aren't savage and apartheid has been abolished. Gays aren't ill or more "feminine" or just think about sex and are now allowed in many countries to marry.

    So looking back at these achievements I think it's very likely the same with pedophilia and minor attraction in general.

  2. I can accept some of the comments here and in the blog, but as things stand the fact is that paedophillia is illegal to practice in many countries of the world as was homosexuality in the uk some 50 years ago, even now there are many restrictions relating to it including restrictions in public conveniences, etc.

    What I do find interesting is how society has already adapted in just a few years to accept that not everyone accused is actually guilty of a crime. Let us just remember one thing that is different to matters such as homosexuality and that is that sexual activity with a prepubescent child could cause physical harm, scars, cause infertility in the case of females due to damage internally and psychological harm, all this would have to be considered to change laws,