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Paedophile Brains, can VR Help?

Paedophilia, the sexual attraction of adults to children, is a significant public health concern and it does not respond well to normal treatment.

On the 15th September 2007, a study was published by Yale University School of Medicine and the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. This study was based on fMRI imaging of paedophile's brains, and found physical wiring differences, which are likely to explain much about the condition.

In all cases, there was a reduced activation of the hypothalamus, a brain region involved in regulating physiologic arousal and hormone release, as compared to healthy individuals when they were viewing sexually arousing pictures of adults.

In other words, when shown erotic pictures of adults, the brains of the paedophilic patients had reduced reactions in the pleasure centre of the brain, indicating an altered sexual interest.

If the wiring in the brain is indeed different, then this is why traditional therapy does not work in these cases.

There are, therefore, two obvious routes to traverse in attempting to manage these people:

1. Augment the brain areas that are different, so that they function more in line with social norms
Caveats:
We currently lack the technology
Morally dubious

2. Provide a 'placebo' to divert their attention away from children at risk, and find an outlet elsewhere.
Caveats:
Runs the risk of enhancing desire not lessening it if improperly managed

One of the key points about VR has always been about visualisation. Making things look as the person viewing them believes is right. When it comes to more advanced concepts, like appearance, VR has been able to alter the shape, form, and style of a human or AI body's outward appearance.

If a paedophile has an irrepressible need for sex with children, something morally reprehensible to the rest of us, not to mention the child concerned; but they are doing their best to deal with it, and behave properly, then this kind of outlet for their sexual desires is potentially viable.

Use a virtual environment for a sensory-immersion place re relieve that desire. Sex via VR is perfectly possible, and if the avatar (either controlled by another person - age play, or AI controlled) can look and sound exactly like desired, it offers a safe outlet for tension that does not harm anyone else.

Note: Dressing an adult up in a VR child avatar, and letting a relationship progress, to the point of weaning them off the VR and getting to know the adult person, likely would not work, in the majority of cases, due to aforementioned physical brain wiring difference. It would likely take true love to surpass this, and that is not something clinically inducible, nor, for ethical reasons, is it ever likely to be.

References

Paedophiles Have Deficits In Brain Activation, Study Suggests
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070920091209.htm

Paedophiles' brains 'different'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7006628.stm

Virtual Child Predation to Stop Physical Predation
http://www.virtualworldlets.net/Resources/Hosted/Resource.php?
Name=VirtualChildNotPhysical

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