CNA screened a documentary “Predict My Future – the Science of Us” recently and I curiously tuned in.
The Dunedin Study tracked and studied 1,000+ babies since their birth 39 years ago, and continued to monitor them until today. Some of their results are astonishing to me, and some are what you and I probably know at the back of our minds.
Kids’ personality are broadly divided into Confidant (28%), Reserved (15%), Well-adjusted (40%), Inhibited (7%) and Under-controlled (10%). The Study shows that the temperament of a 3yo equals that of a 23yo. Wow. While we often have an inkling that an adult individual’s temper is similar when he was younger, the Study points out that a reserved child today will likely remain as a reserved adult when he grows up.
The Study then asserts that for a 4yo, Intelligence is not a predictor of success in later life; Self-Control is. Using the Marshmallow Delayed Gratification Experiment, some children have the will power to resist 1 marshmallow for 2 later; some crumple under the temptation. Luckily, the ability to Self-Control is not fixed and can be improved for all personality types.
The Study also revealed that all teenagers will break the law; some will get caught, and some will not. Applying this statement to myself and others, this result is shockingly true. How to make teens come out of it and limit him to an “Adolescent-Limited” and not “Persistent” criminal is through Love, Relationships, Jobs and Responsibilities.
Another finding is that some people are born with the negative gene (for violence, depression, schizophrenia), and environment can amplify this. “What makes us who we are is largely dependent on our early years. So if you want to make a difference in someone’s life, start early at the early years.” This really tugs at my heart as increasingly I’ve heard of how behaviour, psychology, physiology and nutrition builds the foundation of an individual since young.
The Study also tells that lonely children grow up to be socially-disadvantaged, psychologically and physically, which leads to mental and health issues when they become adults. Can there be something done about isolated kids then?
Lastly, kids who grow up in farms, in large families with many kids or urban families with pets are less likely to develop asthma. It is not dirt, but microbes that matter. We should expose ourselves to a large range of microbes so as to develop our immune system. So open up the windows or go outdoors for fun instead of cooping up at home all day long.