The Long Shadow of Temperament by Jerome Kagan

By Jerome Kagan

We have noticeable those children--the shy and the sociable, the wary and the daring--and questioned what makes one keep away from new event and one other avidly pursue it. on the crux of the problem surrounding the contribution of nature to improvement is the learn that Jerome Kagan and his colleagues were carrying out for greater than twenty years. In The lengthy Shadow of Temperament, Kagan and Nancy Snidman summarize the result of this distinct inquiry into human temperaments, one of many best-known longitudinal stories in developmental psychology. those effects show how deeply sure basic temperamental biases might be preserved over development.

Identifying severe temperamental types--inhibited and uninhibited in early life, and high-reactive and low-reactive in very younger babies--Kagan and his colleagues lower back to those teenagers as teens. strangely, one of many temperaments printed in infancy expected a wary, frightened character in early formative years and a dour temper in youth. the opposite bias envisioned a daring adolescence character and an exuberant, sanguine temper in early life. those personalities have been matched through varied organic houses. In a masterly precis in their wide-ranging exploration, Kagan and Snidman finish that those temperaments are the results of inherited biologies most likely rooted within the differential excitability of specific mind buildings. although the authors relish that temperamental developments should be transformed by way of event, this compelling work--an empirical and conceptual tour-de-force--shows how lengthy the shadow of temperament is forged over mental development.

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These latter two measurements imply a more reactive sympathetic nervous system in the presence of a cognitive challenge. And about one-fourth of the anxious high-reactives had a smaller body size and narrower face than the other children, as well as blue eyes. eleven-year-old assessments The results of the last assessment, which occurred when the children were between 10 and 12 years old, are the focus of the remaining chapters of this book. The sample of 237 children who returned to our laboratory contained 30 percent who had been high-reactive as infants and 39 percent who had been low-reactive; the remaining 31 percent belonged to the other two temperamental groups, originally called distressed or aroused.

The handler would then slowly turn, walk toward the puppy, squat down, hold out his hand, stroke the puppy, and finally pick the animal up. The puppies who ran to the corner of the room with a high-pitched yelp early in the sequence were classified as timid. Basenjis, terriers, and shelties turned out to be far more timid than beagles and cocker spaniels. But all five breeds were less timid if raised in a home rather than in the laboratory kennels (Scott and Fuller, 1965). 44 the long shadow of temperament Selective breeding of a strain of fearful or fearless animal offspring requires a relatively small number of generations.

The mind/brain is exquisitely sensitive to infrequent events. Because extreme shyness is less common than sociability in the United States (but not necessarily in all societies), children and adults exaggerate the significance of this trait, and some view it as undesirable. The automatic attention paid to infrequent events is one reason why questionnaire measures of temperament are less valid than extensive behavioral observations. Parents of a shy child will attribute less shyness to that child if he possesses another even less common trait—for example, extreme aggression or impulsivity.

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