• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe how temperament has been defined and studied by developmental psychologists. With reference to relevant research and theory, discuss the relationship between children's temperament and their early development.

Extracts from this document...


Q: Describe how temperament has been defined and studied by developmental psychologists. With reference to relevant research and theory, discuss the relationship between children's temperament and their early development. Introduction Without doubt, there is a considerable amount of variation observable between individual children's normal behavioural 'styles' or 'tendencies' (and indeed even between children in the same family) apparent from birth, if not before, The notion of "temperament" has been developed as a means to conceptualise and explain the varying traits or dispositions to act which, over time, exert consistent influences upon both an individual child's habitual behavioural patterns and upon his/her earliest social experiences. A popular belief (and one shared by many theorists) is that much temperamental variation is innate: that is to say, that children are 'born different', with such differences being (pre)determined and/or influenced to the greatest extent by biological or genetic, as opposed to environmental or transactional developmental, factors. This report presents a short review of several theoretical definitions and explanations of temperament and its assessment, before going on (briefly) to discuss how temperament may affect the individual child's early developmental interaction both with his/her parents or caregivers, and with the wider social world. What is "temperament"? There is no common agreement, even amongst theorists in this area, over how temperament may be defined. Lay people may often ascribe the differences between individual children's earliest behavioural patterns to variations between the temperaments of each child. ...read more.


However, as the basis for the categorisation of a child within the NYLS schema was the mother's perception, description and rating of her child's temperament in questionnaires and on checklists - with such perception quite probably subject to distortion and/or bias (or, at best, influence) based both on the mother's own personality, and on the quality of her relationship with her child - a question mark hangs over the study's validity as an accurate measurement of a child's temperament, and over its complexity. An alternative, and less complex, framework for classifying temperamental differences based on both laboratory studies and analyses of questionnaire data (similar to classical psychometric tests), was developed by Buss and Plomin (1984)6. They proposed the existence of three temperamental dimensions - Emotionality, Activity and Sociability (EAS) - possibly augmented by Impulsivity and Shyness - which could account for most variations in temperament. Buss and Plomin sought to identify traits that were evident early in the child's life and were strongly genetically influenced, and which could be identified through statistical procedures, relating their work to Hans Eysenk's (1981)7 theories regarding the development of the adult personality. Nevertheless in essence the approach, as with Thomas and Chess, is a quantitative dimensional one which views temperamental differences between individuals as to a greater or lesser extent biologically inherent, and varying merely in degree on a continuum. ...read more.


1 Rutter, M. (1987), 'Temperament, personality and personality disorder', cited in Oates, J. (2004) The Foundations of Child Development, Open University/Blackwell, Milton Keynes, p.166. 2 Bates, J.E. (1989) 'Concepts and measures of temperament', cited in Oates, J. (2004), op cit., p.166. 3 Allport, G.W. (1937) 'Personality, a psychological interpretation', cited in Oates, J. (2004) Op. cit., p.168. 4 Bates, J.E. (1989), 'Concepts and measures of temperament', cited in Oates, J. (2004), Op. cit., p.169. 5 Thomas, A. & Chess, S. (1977), 'Temperament and Development', cited in Oates, J. (2004), Op. cit., pp.182-184. 6 Buss, A.H. & Plomin, R. (1984), Temperament: early developing personality traits, cited in Oates, J. (2004) Op. cit., p.185. 7 Eynsenck, H.J. (1981) A Model for Personality, Berlin, Springer-Verlag. 8 Kagan, J. 'Temperamental contributions to social behaviour', cited in Oates, J. (2004) Op. cit., p.186 9 Dunn and Kendrick's (1982), Siblings: love, envy and understanding, cited in Oates, J. (2004) Op. cit., p.186-187 10 Tizard, B. and Hughes, M. (1984), Young Children Learning: talking and thinking at home and at school, cited in Oates, J. (2004) Op. cit., p.191 11 Keogh (1982), 'Children's temperament and teachers' decisions', cited in Oates, J. (2004) Op. cit., p.191. 12 Lerner, J.V., Nitz, K., Talwar, R. & Lerner, R.M.. (1989), 'On the functional significance of temperamental individuality: a developmental contextural view of the concept of goodness of fit', cited in Oates, J. (2004), Op. cit., pp.192-3 Word Count: 2173 ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Child Development section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Child Development essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Child Development - Child Study

    4 star(s)

    looking at Jacks fine manipulative skills for a child of the age of 4. * Can build a tower of ten or more cubes. * Can copy a building pattern of three steps using six cubes or more. * Able to thread small beads on a lace.

  2. Child development

    Question 9 Were the outcomes accurate? Total Yes 4 No 1 This shows me that there is more positive outcomes than negative outcomes. Question 9 part 2 If problems were detected did you receive diagnostic tests? Total Yes 1 No 4 I asked the women to state what type of diagnostic test they received if anything was detected.

  1. Child development - Study of a child

    He was able to do the same things as she was just not as confidently and I think this has something to do with their sex because Cameron probably doesn't think that making biscuits is a boyish thing. Cameron is a child that only does boyish things and thinks it

  2. Demonstrate the recent development of personal skills relevant to the professional roles of the ...

    In my experience students are often keen to experiment and try out the system for themselves, so becoming much more involved in the delivery of lessons. Other tools I have integrated into the curriculum are shown below: * Asynchronous and synchronous discussions where students are encouraged to set up discussion

  1. "The senses are points of contact with the environment." How does activity with sensorial ...

    (Montessori's Own Handbook, pg. 75) 5. The material is limited in quantity There is only one piece of each type of equipment, a child must wait until another child is finished using the apparatus. Consequently, courtesy is developed because there is no alternative, children learn to wait their turn and fit in the community.

  2. Describe how political ideology influences social policy and suggest how this may affect families ...

    State and providers and the recipient of welfare and where a comprise was reached whereby the State would act as an enabler of welfare services and opportunity, in return for an undertaking that the recipient would return to or find unemployment. The consultation document and green paper 'supporting families' (1998)

  1. Why family structures are changing.

    take control of his own life but also made him realise that his family were becoming dependant on him and he had to realise that he would not always be there. A clear advantage of this service is that it is always there for the family the call line is open 24 hours and will always give advice.

  2. Legal Theory - Re K D (a minor) (ward, termination of access)

    It is only when the child's moral and physical welfare has a bearing on his emotional needs that a local authority can step in. As in the case of Re K D, it was after the appellant had left the child with Mr and Mrs H, that the respondents, knowing

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work