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Social Cues Trigger Delinquency

SocialNew research suggests misunderstood social cues can lead to juvenile delinquency.

Scientists discovered male juvenile delinquents frequently misinterpret facial expressions of disgust as anger, providing a possible cause for their aggressive behavior.

Wataru Sato from Kyoto University and Naomi Matsuura from the Tokyo University of Social Welfare worked with a team of researchers to compare the ability of 24 male adolescent delinquents incarcerated in Japan with that of their peers without conduct problems to recognize emotional states.

The adolescents were shown 48 photographs of faces expressing 6 basic emotions and were asked to match each face with an emotion. They found that delinquents were more likely than their peers to misinterpret facial expressions of disgust as anger.

According to Sato, “The present study provides the first clear evidence that delinquents have a bias toward the misrecognition of others’ disgusted expressions as anger.”

When taken in social context, this misinterpretation of disgust as anger could result in delinquents experiencing a more intense emotional response than necessary and consequently cause the misinterpretation of situations as hostile.

“This bias towards misrecognizing other emotions as anger is particularly significant because anger appears to play an important role in delinquency,” adds the author.

Previous studies have found that juvenile delinquents often have short tempers and experience more intense anger than other children.

The researchers conclude, “Taken together the data suggest that delinquents might be projecting their own heightened angry emotions onto others when they misperceive others’ negative, but not hostile, emotional states as anger.”

The findings are published in in BioMed Central’s open access journal Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Mental Health.

Source: BioMed Central

Social Cues Trigger Delinquency

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Social Cues Trigger Delinquency. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 20, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/09/21/social-cues-trigger-delinquency/8471.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.