November 17, 2009
Less Fearful Babies More Likely To Become Criminals

Babies less prone to feel fear are more likely to commit crimes.

Even at the tender age of 3, children who will go on to be convicted of a crime are less likely to learn to link fear with a certain noise than those who don't. This may mean that an insensitivity to fear could be a driving force behind criminal behaviour.

Adult criminals tend to be fearless, but whether this characteristic emerges before or after they commit a crime wasn't clear, says Adrian Raine, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Will people choosing genetic alleles for their genetically engineered children make them more or less predisposed to feel fear than the average human today? The answer will at least partially determine whether embryo selection for preferred genes will make future humans more or less criminal than they are today.

Raine does a lot of interesting work on innate causes of behavior. See my posts Brain Scans Show Abnormalities In Psychopaths and Habitual Liar Brains Look Different On Scans for more interesting brain research from Raine.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2009 November 17 10:12 PM  Brain Innate

Jim said at November 18, 2009 3:01 AM:

We must test and bring the fearless under military disciple for the good of society.

Bruce said at November 18, 2009 11:49 AM:

Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now.

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning"

rob said at November 18, 2009 3:28 PM:

Makes perfect sense. I mistake my cowardice for virtue all the time.

Tj Green said at November 18, 2009 4:15 PM:

Without fear there is no anxiety, without anxiety there is no conscience, without conscience our species would destroy itself.

anonyq said at November 18, 2009 5:03 PM:

Fearlessness is not a good trade for the military so where should the fearless experience military discipline.

Bob Badour said at November 18, 2009 5:08 PM:


How did you get from fear to pain?

Randall Parker said at November 18, 2009 8:54 PM:


By writing when I'm seriously fatigued.

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