Children Who Act Fearless Show Less Sympathy, More Aggression

Fearless children appear to be less sympathetic towards their friends

Children in preschool who show fearless behavior are also less sympathetic and more aggressive towards other children. A new study at the University of Haifa’s Faculty of Education shows these behaviors may be genetic instead of environmental.

During the study, researchers worked to understand if children between 3 and 4 years old acted a certain way based on physiological or social-emotional characteristics. Understanding the role, if any, that parenting, birth order, and overall well-being of the parents has on the attitudes of a child.

For the study, 80 children between 3 and 4 years old, and their parents and teachers, were observed. Researchers created baselines from reports provided by parents and teachers and monitored children for fearless behavior.

One conclusion drawn was slow starting heart rate in children showing high levels of fearlessness.

Another link between behavior and social elements was evident as researchers found fearless children to be less empathetic towards other children their age. These children also found it difficult to determine facial expressions showing fear, but could easily identify happiness, anger, sadness, or surprise. Children in this group also had antisocial behaviors.

While the children appear to be antisocial, they are in fact very sociable. The children are friendly and have no problem talking with their peers. Researchers explain the inability to determine whether or not a friend is stressed may be one of the problems.

Researchers explain it to be important to understand what can assist young students in learning and to promote positive behavior.