Researchers claim that a simple test on 3-year-olds will be able to tell if they are likely to grow up to become criminals in later life. The test, it is claimed, could also show if these children are likely to grow up to be dead-beat dads, claim welfare, or spend more time in hospital than others.
In fact, statistics show that 20% of the population are responsible for 81% of convictions, 77% of the absentee fathers, 33% of welfare claimants, and over half of all the nights spent in hospital. They were also more likely to smoke, be obese, and take prescription drugs – so why is this, and how does the test work?
Research was done on 1,000 people from New Zealand born between 1972 and 1973, testing their language abilities, motor skills, frustration levels and how impulsive they are in a 45-minute test as 3-year-olds.
Fast forward a few decades and the results showed that those who had performed badly in the tests were 26% more likely to fall into the most burdensome group in society.
Professor Terrie Moffitt, of King’s College, London, and Duke University, North Carolina, said:
The study could prove controversial for suggesting that a person’s path in life is set at such an early age, but it does show that if these at-risk children could be identified they could also be helped.
The test could highlight which children were likely to struggle later in life, as Professor Avshalom Caspi, of King’s College and Duke’s University, said:
The findings of the research are based on the Pareto Principle (also known as the 80-20 rule), which was formed by Italian engineer and social scientist Vilfredo Pareto a century ago. Pareto noted how 80% of the wealth is controlled by 20% of the population and found that the idea could be transferred to other areas of life.
The research has caused experts to believe that helping these most at-risk children could have a real positive effect, not just for them, but for society as a whole.
What do you think?