The link between parental care and love for the baby from the childhood, especially how a mother responds more sensitively to her baby during playtime, is the key to predict the way the child grows into a responsible and sensitive kid or callous or unemotional child, says new research.
Callous and unemotional behaviour reflects lack of guilt and empathy for others’ distress and difficulties. An infant’s preference for a person’s face, not objects is, in fact shows that the child is growing with emotional understanding and concern for others during childhood, the findings showed.
“This study takes us a step further in understanding the earliest origins of callous and unemotional behaviour,” said Rachael Bedford from King’s College London in Britain, whose team studied 213 five-week-old infants.
The researchers assessed if the infants spent longer tracking a person’s face compared to an inanimate object – in this case a red ball. Greater tracking of the face relative to the ball was linked to lower callous unemotional behaviour when child was two-and-a-half-year-old.
“Callous and unemotional behaviour in children are known to be associated with an increased emotional burden on families as well as later criminality and anti-social behaviour,” Bedford said. The study appeared in the journal Biological Psychiatry.