Children's impulsive behaviour is related to their brain connectivity

July 22, 2014
Children's impulsive behaviour is related to their brain connectivity

Researchers from the University of Murcia have studied the changes in the brain that are associated with impulsiveness, a personality trait that causes difficulties in inhibiting a response in the face of a stimulus and leads to unplanned actions without considering the negative consequences. These patterns can serve as an indicator for predicting the risk of behavioural problems.

A new study headed by researchers from the University of Murcia analyses whether the connectivity of an infant's brain is related to children's impulsiveness.

"Impulsiveness is a risk factor for the development of serious behavioural problems," Luis J. Fuentes, the main author of the study, explains to SINC. "Among the children with a typical development, we can observe individual differences in their interaction with the environment."

In his opinion, the experts asked a group of parents to respond to a series of questions related to their children's impulsive behaviour.

With their responses, the 24 children in the sample were classified according to their levels of impulsive behaviour. Then, through neuroimaging techniques, the experts studied their patterns of . With this information, they analysed the patterns to see if they were related to the level of impulsiveness that the parents had noticed in their children.

"We can confirm that the greater the level of impulsiveness in the children, the greater the alteration in the connections between the and the right angular gyrus, which is also observed in people with antisocial behaviour; and other cerebral areas that are usually activated when performing given cognitive tasks," adds Fuentes.

For the authors, these results have two important implications. They affirm that "On the one hand, what the parents notice about their children's behaviour has a clear reflection in their cerebral connectivity patterns, and this is useful information for checking what is observed on a daily basis on a neuro-anatomical level."

Furthermore, alterations in the connectivity between areas of the brain that were previously related with have been identified in children with normal development.

"Said brain connectivity patterns can serve as biological indicators for predicting the risk of the appearance of and social adaptation difficulties," concludes Fuentes.

Impulsiveness and violence

Impulsiveness is a trait of the basic personality that causes difficulties in inhibiting a response in the face of a stimulus and leads to unplanned actions without considering the .

For many years, experts have associated high levels of with behaviour problems. This is characteristic of children with attention deficit disorder and hyperactivity, but also of those which display antisocial personality traits that, in extreme cases, can lead to violent behaviour.

Explore further: Excessive TV in childhood linked to long-term antisocial behaviour

More information: Alberto Inuggi, Ernesto Sanz-Arigita, Carmen González-Salinas, Ana V. Valero-García, Jose M. García-Santos y Luis J. Fuentes. "Brain functional connectivity changes in children that differ in impulsivity temperamental trait." Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 2014 volume 8 article 156.

Related Stories

Anxious children have bigger 'fear centers' in the brain

June 16, 2014

The amygdala is a key "fear center" in the brain. Alterations in the development of the amygdala during childhood may have an important influence on the development of anxiety problems, reports a new study in the current ...

Recommended for you

Language juggling rewires bilingual brain

February 13, 2016

Bilinguals use and learn language in ways that change their minds and brains, which has consequences—many positive, according to Judith F. Kroll, a Penn State cognitive scientist.

'Grit' adds little to prediction of academic achievement

February 11, 2016

Personality characteristics - especially conscientiousness - have previously been shown to have a significant but moderate influence on academic achievement. However, a new study from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology ...

Why smiles (and frowns) are contagious

February 11, 2016

Smile! It makes everyone in the room feel better because they, consciously or unconsciously, are smiling with you. Growing evidence shows that an instinct for facial mimicry allows us to empathize with and even experience ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.