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PSYCH 3JJ3 (18)

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Louis A Schmidt

PSYCH 3JJ3- September 27, 2013 Temperament: Causes and Consequences - Temperament: An individual’s typical mode of response including activity level, emotional intensity, and attention span; used particularly to describe infants’ and children’s behaviour - Thomas and Chess o Difficult babies (10%) – slept and ate irregularly, became easily upset by new situations, and experienced extremes of fussiness and crying o Easy babies (40%) – friendly, happy, and adaptable o Slow-to-warm babies (15%) – low in activity level and tended to respond negatively to new stimuli at first but slowly adopted to new objects and novel experiences after repeated contact with them o Other babies could not easily be categorized - Mary Rothbart o Interested in the origins of temperament and attention o Broad dimensions to understand infant and children – 3 categories o 1) Effortful control  Attention control – capacity to focus attention as well as to shift attention when desired  Inhibitory control – capacity to plan future action and suppress inappropriate responses o 2) negative affectivity  Frustration – negative affect related to interruption of ongoing tasks or goal blocking  Fear – negative affect related to anticipation of distress o 3) Extraversion – surgency  High-intensity pleasure – pleasure derived from activities involving high intensity or novelty  Smiling and laughter – positive affect in response to changes in stimulus intensity - Genetic Factors o Temperament may be at least in part genetically determined and genetic influences may become increasingly prominent through early childhood o Most psychologists today consider temperament to be the result of both heredity and environment - Neurological Correlates o Neurochemical molecules, such as epinephrine, dopamine, vasopressin and oxytocin, seems to play a role  Extraversion has been linked to the availability of dopamine o Individual differences in effortful control, impulsivity, and proneness to frustration have been linked to activity in the anterior and lateral prefrontal areas of the brain o Timid infants and children who were highly reactive to unfamiliar events showed more activation in the amygdale region of the brain in novel situations than did bold children who were low in reactivity - Early evidence of temperament o Prenatal activity o Newborn differences in distress and avoidance o Infant differences in how much they smile at and approach social stimuli and expression of negative emotion o Differences in effortful control by age 30 to 45 months – ability to inhibit, facilitate, make plans for and detect errors in action - Correlates and consequences of temperament o Children who are more irritable, difficult, impulsive, and emotional experience a higher rate of problems in later life o 1) Fearful, shit children  internalizing problems  Childhood behaviours problem in which the behaviour is directed at the self rather than others – including fear, anxiety, depression loneliness and withdrawal o 2) Poor effortful control  externalizing problems  Childhood behaviour problem in which the behaviour is directed at others – including hitting, stealing, vandalizing, and lying o What might contribute to these associations o Children with difficult temperaments may find it more difficult to adapt to environment demands o Children with difficult temperaments may elicit more adverse reactions from other people o Temperament may interact with conditions in
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