February 01, 2014
Violent Babies Born That Way

You can't reason with aggressive babies because they were born that way.

MONTREAL, January 21, 2014 - The development of physical aggression in toddlers is strongly associated genetic factors and to a lesser degree with the environment, according to a new study led by Eric Lacourse of the University of Montreal and its affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital. Lacourse's worked with the parents of identical and non-identical twins to evaluate and compare their behaviour, environment and genetics.

"The gene-environment analyses revealed that early genetic factors were pervasive in accounting for developmental trends, explaining most of the stability and change in physical aggression, " Lacourse said. "However, it should be emphasized that these genetic associations do not imply that the early trajectories of physical aggression are set and unchangeable. Genetic factors can always interact with other factors from the environment in the causal chain explaining any behaviour."

George Thorogood figured this out years ago: "Bad To The Bone".

This also reminds me of criminology researcher Adrian Raine's excellent book: The Anatomy of Violence: The Biological Roots of Crime.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2014 February 01 09:41 PM 

Engineer-Poet said at February 3, 2014 7:21 AM:

Okay, what does this mean for policy?  For instance, can those "bad to the bone" children be conditioned to suppress violent impulses, and does society have the right to demand this in return for allowing them to be free members?

Grig said at February 8, 2014 6:02 AM:

We are in power to stop violence in children behavieur. I think they were not born that way. Do you watch TV Shows for childrean: Cartoon and even Disney?

Ronald Brak said at February 9, 2014 1:58 AM:

Is there a strong genetic component to physical agression in infants? Definitely. Animal studies made this sort of thing clear long ago. But do these aggressive babies become society's murderers? Generally not. My sister was a fiesty infant but so far she has murdered no one. Or at least no one we know about. But in addition to that she has no convictions for assault or theft or anything along those lines, just more speeding tickets than you might think is normal. She even has a job that specifically requires her to not be a criminal. Did she give me a bloody nose when I was five? Yes. Did she grow up to be the most agressive and argumentive in the familiy? Yes. Did she get a job in a maximum security prison? Yes, she did. Would she be voted family member most likely to kill somebody? Well, I won't comment on that in case she reads this and kills me. But as far as society is concerned she is a hard working, law abiding, upstanding member of society. Of course society has never had her fist in my face like I have, but the point is, while agressive babies are probably more likely to grow up to commit assaults and other crimes, they generally don't.

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