Could Giving Children Candy Turn Them into Criminals?
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Everyone knows that eating too many sweets is bad for our teeth, but could giving candy to children lead to delinquency later in life? A new study, to be published in next month's British Journal of Psychiatry, claims that, indeed, it can.The Cardiff University study used data on nearly 17,500 children born in 1970. They found that, among this group, 69 percent of those who had since been convicted of violent crimes reported eating candy or chocolate nearly everyday as a child.
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The candy itself, researchers believe, is actually innocent. There are no special properties of sugar or chocolate that lead people to delinquency. Rather, it is the use of candy as a bartering tool that causes problems.
Using candy as a reward for good behavior is risky because not all children learn patience from the practice. Instead, these children become more impulsive. Dr. Simon Moore, who led the study, explained that "we have to interpret this with other research which shows that children who are aggressive are risk-takers and much more impulsive."
Therefore, the equation is: Behavioral Rewards = More Impulsive Adults = Violent and Aggressive Tendencies. This time, at least, the candy is not to blame.
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