Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fearless children show less empathy, more aggression, research finds

Date:
November 13, 2010
Source:
University of Haifa
Summary:
Preschool-aged children who demonstrate fearless behavior also reveal less empathy and more aggression towards their peers, new research shows.

Preschool-aged children who demonstrate fearless behavior also reveal less empathy and more aggression towards their peers. This has been shown in a new study that was carried out at the University of Haifa's Faculty of Education.

"The results of this study show that fearless behavior in children can be identified and is related to neurological and genetic predisposition. This type of behavior has less correlation -- at least in infancy -- with standards of educational processes or parenting practice," says Dr. Inbal Kivenson-Baron, who carried out the study as part of her doctoral thesis.

Under the supervision of Prof. Ofra Mayseless, the study set out to examine whether fearless behavior in children aged 3-4 is related to specific physiological and social-emotional characteristics and whether there is a relation to aspects of parenting, such as socioeconomic status, order of birth, parental well-being, child-rearing practices, and the like.

The study observed 80 children aged 3-4, along with their parents and preschool teachers. It reviewed reports given by parents and teachers, and made observations of the children at their preschool locations, at home and in the lab. The study monitored children's tendency to fearlessness and their social-emotional characteristics at the beginning and end of one year, so as to determine the stability of this tendency.

First it was revealed that the heart rate in children who showed a high level of fearless behavior was slow to start. Next, the correlation between fearless behavior and social characteristics was evaluated, finding that the more fearless children revealed less empathy towards their peers and also had difficulty identifying facial expressions of fear, while they had no problem identifying other emotions such as anger, surprise, happiness or sadness. These children also demonstrated higher levels of general aggression -- especially tending toward antisocial behavior such as taking advantage of friends, emotional shallowness and a lack of regret or guilt after doing something socially unacceptable.

An interesting finding in this study was that despite their antisocial tendency, the children who show more fearlessness are quite sociable. "These children connect with other children, they are friendly and smiley; but they find it difficult to identify distress in a friend, and show less interest in helping that friend. It seems that fearless behavior includes in it both positive and negative aspects," Dr. Kivenson-Baron explains.

"Since fearless behavior correlates with genetic and neurological characteristics, it is important to find the most effective ways -- through education at the preschool and at home -- to assist these children in developing the ability to recognize and value social prohibitions. As a society, we must discern the optimal stimulation that can be provided in the child's natural surroundings, in order to awaken those emotions that are necessary for the development of empathy toward another and for refraining from aggressive behavior," Dr. Kivenson-Baron concludes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Haifa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Haifa. "Fearless children show less empathy, more aggression, research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140524.htm>.
University of Haifa. (2010, November 13). Fearless children show less empathy, more aggression, research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140524.htm
University of Haifa. "Fearless children show less empathy, more aggression, research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101108140524.htm (accessed August 29, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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:
from the past week

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