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May 05, 2021 Wednesday 12:39:14 PM IST

Spanking Harmful for Child’s Brain

Parent Interventions

Spanking can have negative consequences for a child and affect its brain development just as severe forms of violence does, according to a study by Harvard University. It was found that children who had been spanked had a greater neural response in multiple regions of the prefrontal cortex (PFC), including in regions that are part of the salience network. These areas of the brain respond to cues in the environment that tend to be consequential, such as a threat, and may affect decision-making and processing of situations. Earlier studies have linked spanking to the development of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, behavioural problems and substance use disorders. When shown ‘fearful’ or neural faces, children who had experienced spanking demonstrated greater activation in multiple regions of PFC than children who were never spanked as revealed in the MRI scan. This points to the dangers of corporal punishment, researchers said.

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