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Top Story

Researchers identify marker in brain associated with aggression in children

Imagine a situation where one child is teasing another. While the child doing the teasing means it playfully, the other child views it as hostile and responds aggressively. Behavior like this happens all the time with children, but why some react neutrally and others act aggressively is a mystery. In a new study, a University of Iowa–led research team reports it has identified a brain marker associated with aggression in toddlers. In experiments measuring a type of brain wave in two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half-year-old children, toddlers who had smaller spikes in the P3 brain wave when confronted with a situational change were more aggressive than children registering larger P3 brain-wave peaks, research showed. The results could lead to identifying at an earlier stage children who are at risk of aggressive behavior and could help stem those impulses before adolescence, an age at which research has shown aggressive behavior is more difficult to treat.

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