Infant neural and physiological responses to fear expressions as risk markers for the development of conduct disorders

Project: Other projectOther internal award

Project Details


About 35,000 children in a year cohort in the UK are diagnosed with conduct disorders (CDs). Conduct disorders represent a large proportion of the global burden of disease amongst all mental health conditions. One subgroup of CDs shows reduced empathy towards others (callousness) and have extremely poor life outcomes. Finding markers of callous-CD early in life is crucial for efficient prevention
strategies which can save the UK £5 billion3. Children with callous-CD have particular difficulties responding appropriately to people’s fear expressions. Present in the first year of life, these difficulties could be used to indicate those at risk for callous-CDs, just as infants’ difficulties with processing eye-gaze were established as markers for autism. Using innovative, hypothesis-driven methods, this project investigates which 7-months-olds’ brain and body responses to people’s fear predict the first callous-CD symptoms. This information enables us to study the genetic and socioeconomical conditions under which infants with difficulties in processing peoples’ fear develop
Effective start/end date1/12/1831/08/20