What Are You Teaching Your Kids to Fear?

Screen shot 2011-01-27 at 4.53.48 PMNext time you spot a spider crawling on the wall, you may want to think twice about screaming. A new study in Current Directions in Psychological Science suggests that our fears are learned, not inherent, which means that showing fright at the sight of snakes and bugs will promote the same fear within your child.

In one experiment, 3-year-olds were shown nine photographs and asked to identify their subjects. The children could identify snakes faster than the other eight images, which included flowers, frogs, and caterpillars. Scientists say the results show that children learn at an early age to quickly identify “scary” things like spiders and snakes due to the fearful voices and reactions they associate with them.

So next time you spot a cockroach in the corner, take a deep breath and try to stay calm. In a few years, your child will be able to take care of it for you — without any fear at all.

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Tags: | Categories: Behavior, GoodyBlog, Your Child

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  1. by Leia Swiech

    On December 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Thanks for the info, very useful

  2. by Rena Henricksen

    On January 23, 2012 at 3:58 am

    Just bookmarked you!!