How a one-year-old child sweats in reaction to stressful situations may determine his temperament as he grows older, reports.

Cardiff University psychological scientist Stephanie van Goozen and her team used skin conductance activity (SCA) to measure sweat in children in order to find out whether it’s possible to predict aggression early.

SCA tests were done thrice: while the kids were at rest, during a round of loud noises, and after encountering a scary-looking robot. A followup was done a few years after the initial testing, wherein aggressive behaviors were taken into account.

The results showed that those who had lower SCA scores--or those who sweated less at rest and during their experience with the robot--were more prone to become physically and verbally aggressive upon reaching three years old.

Van Goozen notes, “These findings show that it is possible to identify at-risk children long before problematic behavior is readily observable. Identifying precursors of disorder in the context of typical development can inform the implementation of effective prevention programs and ultimately reduce the psychological and economic costs of antisocial behavior to society."

(Photo by Tricia via Flickr Creative Commons)

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