New Scientist has reported a fascinating study.
The theory is that people who recognise fear in people are less likely to be violent towards them. Very disappointingly anti bullying programmes and monitoring young offenders have not been found to be effective.
Birmingham University researchers divided a group of 50 boys convicted of a crime. One half were a control group. The other half completed 7-9 hours of computer based traning to better recognise facial expressions. This training resulted in significant improvements in the boys involved ability to recognise fear, anger and sadness.
This transferred into significantly less violent and severe crimes afterwards than the control group. Clearly this was only a small study but the implications are massive if further research confirms this initial finding.
Hopefully it wont be long before this experiment is scaled up to confirm the initial findings. It a real effect it could one day see a profound reduction in Southwark violent crime…