The faculty at the Haifa Faculty of Education in Israel has just revealed that pre-school age children who are characterized as ‘fearless’ also show more aggressive behavior towards children around them and less empathy.
“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.
The study examined the relationship, if any, between fearless behavior in 3-4 year-olds and physiological and social-emotional characteristics. The researchers also looked at parenting, socioeconomic status, birth order and parental well-being, child-rearing and other parameters in the children’s lives.
“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.