What’s Behind A Temper Tantrum? Scientists Deconstruct The Screams

When our firstborn was little, my wife carefully avoided saying “no” to him, saying “no thank you” instead. When he melted down in public, he would scream, “No thank you! Noooo thaaaank YOOU!”

The key to a new theory of tantrums lies in a detailed analysis of the sounds that toddlers make during tantrums. In a new paper published in the journal Emotion, scientists found that different toddler sounds – or “vocalizations” – emerge and fade in a definite rhythm in the course of a tantrum.

“We have the most quantitative theory of tantrums that has ever been developed in the history of humankind,” said study co-author Michael Potegal of the University of Minnesota, half in jest and half seriously. –NPR.org » What’s Behind A Temper Tantrum? Scientists Deconstruct The Screams.