Aggression in Youth Linked to Moral Development

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The development of aggression in youth has been linked to their moral development. As children get older, they become increasingly more aware of social judgments of acceptable behavior. Moral development is the process that allows children to comprehend, incorporate, and apply moral and ethical values to the behaviors they enact in everyday life (3). Because there is evidence that supports a relationship between individuals’ genetic makeup and their aggressive behaviors, psychological development is thought to begin in the womb. It is in the womb where the child receives all the genes necessary for future development. There are factors that influence prenatal development of genes in the womb such as poor maternal nutrition, exposure to surrounding environmental toxins, or the ingestion of alcohol by future mothers. These factors along with rapid growth of the brain during the second half of pregnancy puts fetuses at risk for having underdeveloped brains which affect the children’s future reasoning abilities (3). However, all children begin life as amoral beings in the state of infancy because most of their behavior is being involuntarily controlled by the subcortical region of the brain. Over the course of the first year infants slowly gain control of their impulses and predecessors of anti-social behavior emerge towards the end of it (3). This was exemplified by Margaret C. Holmberg in her 1980 study of the development of social behaviors conducted on children one to three

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