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Japan to meld brain science, psychology to help prevent bullying among children

JIJI

The education ministry plans to make better use of the fruits of research in brain science and psychology to deal with bullying and suicides among children.

The ministry will build a network of universities and build a system that allows experts in the two fields and educators to cooperate, officials said.

Problematic behavior by children is believed to be linked to the development of the ability to control emotions. However, there has been almost no scientific approach to dealing with bullying, with schools depending on the experience-backed skills of teachers.

The ministry plans within three years to create databases on emotion research results and case reports from schools and to draw up ways to use research in education.

Related research projects will be commissioned to institutions with expertise in brain science and psychology, while schools and child care centers will be asked to make reports on bullying and other cases as well as routine monitoring of children. Information will be shared in each field for the promotion of the research.

Bullying and suicides involve complicated emotions, said Hideaki Koizumi, a ministry panel member and senior researcher at Hitachi Ltd.

“It is hard to find fundamental solutions” without stepping into areas of depth psychology and brain science, he said.