Are some children just born evil? Michelle Griffin reports.
Eva (Tilda Swinton) and son Kevin (Rocky Duer) in a scene from Lynne Ramsay's "We Need To Talk About Kevin."
A mother sits in a playroom with her young son. The phone rings. When she picks it up, a researcher watching through a two-way mirror asks her to look into her son's eyes and ''show him, in the way that feels most natural for you, that you love him''.
The mother is doing her best to connect, but this little boy won't return her gaze. He looks at her mouth, where the words are coming from, but it's as if he can't understand what she means.
Mark Dadds says some children literally cannot see the love in their mother's eyes. Professor Dadds, a parenting expert from the University of New South Wales, has just published results of his work in the British Journal of Psychiatry
and the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology
that suggest the ability to make eye contact is vital in learning how to love other people.
For the past five years, he has been working with children referred to his Sydney clinic for sustained rages, continual aggression, calculated violence and, occasionally, cruelty to animals.