Parents views on justice affect babies moral development
on 01 September 2015

It seems if you want your children to have good social and behavioural balance, you need to embrace them yourself and preferably before your child is born! Whether elements of these traits are transferred in-vivo is not mentioned but the fact that the foetus experiences the mother's emotions may suggest its involvement  .  .  .

Why it's important to get it right!

Babies' neural responses to morally charged scenarios are influenced by their parents' attitudes toward justice, new research from the University of Chicago shows. The study from Prof. Jean Decety and postdoctoral scholar Jason Cowell, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, sheds new light on the mechanisms underlying the development of morality in very young children.

"This work demonstrates the potential of developmental social neuroscience to provide productive, new and exciting directions for the investigation of moral development, by integrating neurobiology, behaviour and the social environment," said Decety, the Irving B. Harris Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology and Psychiatry and the College and director of the University of Chicago Child Neuro Suite. The developmental neuroscientists found that strong individual differences in the perception of prosocial and antisocial behaviours are present in children as young as 12 to 24 months old--and that these differences are predicted by their parents' sensitivity to justice. Moreover, parental cognitive empathy is linked to babies' willingness to share. "These novel and intriguing findings warrant further investigation to decipher what contributes to such early parent-child transmission of values, which may either be based on biological or socio-environmental influences or more likely a dynamic and complex developmental, interactional process between the two," the authors wrote.

The 73 infants and toddlers who participated in the study watched brief animations depicting prosocial (e.g., sharing, helping) and antisocial (e.g., hitting, shoving) behaviour while the authors monitored their eye movement and brain waves using electroencephalography, or EEG. Following the animations, the developmental neuroscientists presented the babies with toys of the helping and hindering characters and observed their preferences based on reaching. The infants also played a sharing game. Parents answered questionnaires about their children and themselves to assess their dispositional empathy and sensitivity to justice.

In the current study, all children exhibited larger brain waves in response to prosocial scenes than antisocial ones. In addition, the children were more motivated to look at "good" characters than "bad" ones, as measured by eye-tracking. These findings add to a growing body of knowledge demonstrating that children are able to distinguish between prosocial and antisocial behaviour from a very early age. However, the study also suggests that by 1 or 2 years of age, some children perceive the difference between prosocial and antisocial behaviour more strongly than others. Importantly, these neural differences also predicted infants' behaviour--the children who reached toward the prosocial character toy also exhibited the greatest neural differentiation between prosocial and antisocial behaviour when watching the character animations.

This is where hypnotherapy can be very useful, because of its ability to communicate at the level of the subconscious brain, therefore, bypassing the cognitive elements of consciousness. If you would like to discover more about how our adult brain corrupts our child's brain, maybe you can consider booking an appointment for a free consultation? This can be done via a face to face meeting or Skype, Zoom or Teams, all can be equally efficacious!

The objective here is to help people understand how and why we become illogically trapped into irrational emotional experiences that may actually be happening for reasons different to that which we would imagine! If you want to know more about how Hypnotherapy can help you; why not make an appointment for a Free Consultation?
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Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by the University of Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
Jason M. Cowell, Jean Decety. Precursors to morality in development as a complex interplay between neural, socio-environmental, and behavioural facets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2015; 201508832 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1508832112