Children who don't show normal fear responses to loud, unpleasant sounds at the age of 3 may be more likely to commit crimes as adults, according to a new study. That statement in itself is startling. The study goes on to say researchers tested the 3-year-olds' responses to unpleasant noises using a lie detector. When they looked at any criminal records among the participants 20 years later, 137 of them (131 male, 6 female) had at least one criminal conviction.
Compared to almost 300 participants with no criminal records, those 137 participants had a much lower response to the noises at the age of 3.
The findings link previous studies suggesting that psychopaths and children with behavioral problems at the age of 11 have similar abnormalities in a part of the brain called the amygdala. That structure is largely responsible for directing fear of consequences. It is aslo refered to as the reptilian brain that controls agression and the primative responses that occur, such as rage, and violent impulsive acts such as rape and murder. Crime is clearly a complex construct involving multiple interactions between genetic, brain, family and social influences;just one part of the equation cannot be the magic bullet to fix a growing problem. What this type of study can do is target the resreach for the futre on how to increase the response to noises and triggers towards a more "classic response. It is felt that a response to loud noises signals an understanding of a negaitve consequensce to a negative act. If there is no connection, there is little to no understanding of consequences to a behvaior. It remains to be seen how this one study measures up over time, but it adds another dimension to what we see happening to kids in our country who seem to moving farther and farther away from emotions such as empathy, compassion and respect for other living beings emotions, especially pain. There is yet another resercah project out regarding the reliance upon texting, Facebook, and other social media for the main communication style of this generation. Rsreachers at UCLA find it takes at least 10 seconds to be able to understand an emotional contection in a converstaion. Most text and twitter exchanges are far less than that and have no emotionaly charged content to feel. The ability to empathize and conncet on an emtionally common ground is fading fast. There is much concern over the impact in the long run regarding morals, and ethics for the coming generations is paramount to maintaining a cohesive and morally competant society.
I am sure there will be much more about these studies as wego forward. In the meantime, make sure our kids have a chance to sit with another person who is experiencing some degree of emtional or psychic pain. See how long it takes them to understand the depth or presence of that disturbacne and talk about it afterwards. How did they feel? Was it uncomfortable for them? Did it affect them at all? The answer to these few questions may lead to a more in depth discussion that tells you exactly who your child is becoming and if you still have time to imact that growth. If you need help please be sure to contact a therapist or counselor who understands the way children think. It makes all the difference in the world for the child to have someone who knows they are not just a pint sized adult. For suggestions,please go to www.smhc.org