What does this mean?
Researchers used a sample of 153 toddlers between the ages of 2.5 – 3.5, of whom had individual sessions in which they wore a net of head sensors to mark brain activity while hearing different pitches sounded throughout the room. The noise of the tones occurred while the toddlers watched silent cartoons.
Each pitch change during the toddlers’ session exemplified a change in the environment. This “testing” corresponds with most changes within a setting, and is particularly similar to a transitional phase in a social interaction. It is important to note that the brains of aggressive kids are usually unable to successfully detect a change in the tone of a person they are interacting with. For example, while one neutral kid may be playfully making fun of another, the aggressive kid might interpret that as bullying and will respond with hostility.
When evaluating the head sensors, researchers found that “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,” as cited in the Science Daily.
Why is this important?
This finding in research will allow for earlier interventions in stopping aggressive impulses in toddlers, which is usually a tendency that continues throughout their adolescence. When confronting aggressive behaviors at an older age, it is harder to treat and dispose of combative traits that are instilled within a child’s demeanor.
As someone who has worked with kids with special needs of ages 4-10, I have watched kids grow up and continuously get more aggressive as they age. Although it is hard to combat these tendencies at the age of 4, it is easier to help them better react to social interactions they do not understand at 4 years old rather than at 10 years old. Therefore, in helping parents recognize key behavioral issues with their children at the young age of 2, this brain wave scanning of P3 will allow said parents to find new ways to decrease the aggressive behaviors their child will exhibit.
However, I am unsure whether or not this will become a routine thing doctors check for in toddlers, or how much it will cost. Do you think it is necessary for parents to know this information? If you were a parent, would you want your child to go under this “testing?”