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Chapter 4

ch.4 for PSYC14

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

Chapter 4: Cultural and Developmental Processes Culture and Temperament characteristics we are born with determine, to some extent, how our caregivers react and interact with us, initiating the lifelong process of socialization temperament: qualities of responsiveness to the environment that exist from birth and evoke different reactions from people in the babys world. Temperament is generally considered to be a biologically based style of interacting with the world that exists from birth Traditional Knowledge Thomas and Chess have described 3 major categories of temperament: o Easy temperament: regular, adaptable, mildly intense style of behavior that is positive and responsive o Difficult temperament is an intense, irregular, withdrawing style generally marked by negative moods o Slow to warm up infants need time to make transitions in activity and experiences. They may withdraw initially or respond negatively, given time and support they will adapt and react positively Goodness fit is the interaction of a childs temperament with that of parents; it seems to be key to the development of personality o Parental reactions to a childs temperament can promote stability or instability in the childs temperamental responses to the environment. The parents responses to the childs temperament may also affect subsequent attachment Cross-cultural Studies on Temperament if children of other cultures have different temperaments at birth, they will respond to the environment differently; they will evoke responses from the environment and caregivers that are different differences in temperament and environmental response should produce a fundamental differences in the learning and social experiences of those children and consequently in their worldview and culture as they grow older Chinese infants are less active, less irritable, and less vocal than American and Irish infants There is a connection b/w maternal BP and the childs irritability African American babies scored higher on motor abilitiesbehaviors involved muscle movement and coordination Cross-Cultural Studies Using the Neonatal Behavior Assessment Scale (NBAS) NBAS is used to assess newborns behaviors in the first 30 days of life. It is thought to give an indication of temperamental characteristics of newborns Saco-Pollit investigated how altitude may relate to newborn behaviors and found that in comparison with low-altitude infants, those raised at high altitudes were less attentive, less responsive and less active and had more difficult time quieting themselves. Studies with NBAS illuminate how differences in temperament across cultures must be considered in relation to the cultural practices of infant care giving, cultural goals for appropriate infant behaviors, and cultural ideas on the capabilities of infants; they also suggest that temperamental differences across cultures are indeed evident, even in infants only a few days after birth Temperament and Learning Culture interaction b/w parents responses and infant temperament is key to understanding development of culture and socialization processes the quiet temperament and placidity that are notable in infants from Asian and Native American backgrounds are probably further stabilized in later infancy and childhood by the response of the mothers differences in infant temperament may make it easier for parents of different cultures to engage in parenting styles and behaviors that teach and reinforce their particular cultural practices temperament may serve as a baseline biological predisposition of the infant that allows this type of learning to occur the cultural differences we find concerning temperament, evident very early in life, may give us a clue to what kinds of personalities and behaviors are valued in a culture as an adult www.notesolution.com childs temperament and the environmental response to their temperamental style will most likely result in differences in the leaning and social experience of those children and consequently in their behaviors, personalities and worldviews as they become adults The Goodness of Fit b/w Temperament and Culture adaptiveness of an infants temperament style to their development may be specific to the immediate environment particular type of temperament may be adaptive in one culture and maladaptive in another DeVriess study highlights the need to consider the cultural context in analyzing the role of a childs characteristics in their development; findings also caution us about how we label the different temperamental styles o Example: during a drought the difficult child would have higher chances of surviving than a less difficult child; but in a normal environment difficult kids piss you off The way we interpret an infants disposition and behaviors must be considered in relation to the specific culture; the same dispositions and behaviors may have different meanings when placed in different cultural context Sources Behind Temperamental Differences possible that differences in temperament reflect differences in genetics and reproductive histories environmental and cultural pressures over generations may have helped to produce minor biological differences in infants through a functionally adaptive process the cultural experiences of the mother during pregnancy may contribute to a prenatal environment that modifies an infants biological composition to correspond to those cultural practices temperamental differences that are evident from birth contribute to the personality differences we observe in adults of different cultures it is important to understand the magnitude of their contributions as building blocks in the development of adult members of the culture of the world cross
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