- Publish Date
- Friday, 24 November 2017, 11:30AM
It's always hard to tell what kind of adult your child will grow into, but according to research, there are signs that indicate that your little one may end up becoming a psychopath when they're older.
A study published in Current Biology has found that boys with psychopathic tendencies are less likely to want to join in with the laughter of other children.
They also - unlike most children - do not find laughter contagious.
Scans taken of the young boys' brains showed that they expressed a lower response to laughter than other children.
"It is not appropriate to label children psychopaths," study author Professor Essi Viding said, "Psychopathy is an adult personality disorder.
However, we do know from longitudinal research that there are certain children who are at a higher risk of developing psychopathy, and we screened for those features that indicate that risk.”
Due to the way their brain works children with psychopathic tendencies experience the world differently, Professor Viding explained:
"Those social cues that automatically give us pleasure or alert us to someone’s distress do not register in the same way for these children.
That does not mean that these children are destined to become antisocial or dangerous; rather, these findings shed new light on why they often make different choices from their peers.
We are only now beginning to develop an understanding of how the processes underlying prosocial behaviour might differ in these children.
Such understanding is essential if we are to improve current approaches to treatment for affected children and their families who need our help and support."