Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fussy Baby? Linking Genes, Brain And Behavior In Children

Date:
July 14, 2009
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
It comes as no surprise that some babies are more difficult to soothe than others but frustrated parents may be relieved to know that this is not necessarily an indication of their parenting skills. According to a new study, children's temperament may be due in part to a combination of a certain gene and a specific pattern of brain activity.

Some babies are easy to soothe. But it comes as no surprise that some babies are more difficult to soothe than others.
Credit: iStockphoto/Damir Cudic

It comes as no surprise that some babies are more difficult to soothe than others but frustrated parents may be relieved to know that this is not necessarily an indication of their parenting skills. According to a new report in Psychological Science, children's temperament may be due in part to a combination of a certain gene and a specific pattern of brain activity.

Related Articles


The pattern of brain activity in the frontal cortex of the brain has been associated with various types of temperament in children. For example, infants who have more activity in the left frontal cortex are characterized as temperamentally "easy" and are easily calmed down. Conversely, infants with greater activity in the right half of the frontal cortex are temperamentally "negative" and are easily distressed and more difficult to soothe.

In this study, Louis Schmidt from McMaster University and his colleagues investigated the interaction between brain activity and the DRD4 gene to see if it predicted children's temperament. In a number of previous studies, the longer version (or allele) of this gene had been linked to increased sensory responsiveness, risk-seeking behavior, and attention problems in children. In the present study, brain activity was measured in 9-month-old infants via electroencephalography (EEG) recordings. When the children were 48 months old, their mothers completed questionnaires regarding their behavior and DNA samples were taken from the children for analysis of the DRD4 gene.

The results reveal interesting relations among brain activity, behavior, and the DRD4 gene. Among children who exhibited more activity in the left frontal cortex at 9 months, those who had the long version of the DRD4 gene were more soothable at 48 months than those who possessed the shorter version of the gene. However, the children with the long version of the DRD4 gene who had more activity in the right frontal cortex were the least soothable and exhibited more attention problems compared to the other children.

These findings indicate that the long version of the DRD4 gene may act as a moderator of children's temperament. The authors note that the "results suggest that it is possible that the DRD4 long allele plays different roles (for better and for worse) in child temperament" depending on internal conditions (the environment inside their bodies) and conclude that the pattern of brain activity (that is, greater activation in left or right frontal cortex) may influence whether this gene is a protective factor or a risk factor for soothability and attention problems. The authors cautioned that there are likely other factors that interact with these two measures in predicting children's temperament.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Schmidt et al. Linking Gene, Brain, and Behavior: DRD4, Frontal Asymmetry, and Temperament. Psychological Science, 2009; 20 (7): 831 DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02374.x

Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Fussy Baby? Linking Genes, Brain And Behavior In Children." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713114501.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2009, July 14). Fussy Baby? Linking Genes, Brain And Behavior In Children. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713114501.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Fussy Baby? Linking Genes, Brain And Behavior In Children." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713114501.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins