Temperament –Three main types: Easy Difficult Slow to warm up –Emotions are felt, but reactions to the emotions are learned. –Appropriate responses to an emotion need to be taught.
Temperament Children are born with their natural style of interacting with or reacting to people, places, and things—their temperament Biological Predisposition Rhythmical functioning Circadian rhythmicity Interest in novelty Approach to new situations, curiosity Inclination to “outside’ or “inside”
Goodness of fit Relationship with caregiver’s style: Good fit, or poor fit Parent adapts caregiving to child’s unique characteristics Parent modifies expectation
Temperament Chess & Thomas Alexander Thomas and Stella Chess began a classic longitudinal study in the 1950s regarding infant temperament. The study focused on how temperamental qualities influence adjustment throughout life. Chess and Thomas rated young infants on a variety of characteristics, such as activity level, mood, sleeping and eating patterns, and attention span.
Temperament Chess & Thomas The found that most babies could be categorized into one of three groups: –Easy –Difficult –Slow to warm-up About one third of all infants tested were characterized as average babies because they did not fit neatly into one of these three categories (Thomas & Chess 1977).
Temperament Easy babies readily adapt to new experiences, generally display positive moods and emotions and also have normal eating and sleeping patterns. Difficult babies tend to be very emotional, irritable and fussy, and cry a lot. They also tend to have irregular eating and sleeping patterns. Slow-to-warm-up babies have a low activity level, and tend to withdraw from new situations and people. They are slow to adapt to new experiences. Thomas and Chess found that these broad patterns of temperamental qualities are remarkably stable through childhood.
Temperament Most experts agree that temperament does have a genetic and biological basis; but researchers also agree that environmental experiences can modify a child's temperament. Adults can encourage new behaviors in children, and with enough support a slow-to-warm-up child can become less shy, or a difficult baby can become more emotionally stable.