The authors use the scientific method The first step in the scientific method is to formulate a testable hypothesis. The authors are trying to pinpoint what factors can be attributed into the development of a child’s personality. They believe that personalities are mainly prevalent from birth and that temperament and environment are the influences to look at. The next step is to design a study and collect data. They decide to test their hypothesis by doing a study of 85 families consisting of 181 children. They monitor the children’s development from infancy through childhood. The third step is to analyze the data and draw a conclusion.

By studying the data authors find characteristics in order to define the different temperaments they discover. Lastly, they report the findings by releasing the article of what the discover. The researchers define the behavioral profile of a child by three general temperaments. The three categories are “easy children”, “difficult children” and “slow to warm up children”. “Easy children” are defined as positive in mood, regular in bodily function, a low or moderate intensity of reaction, adaptability and positive approach to new situations. During infancy, “easy children” are cheerful and keep regular schedules.

They also adapt quickly to new food, routines and people. “Difficult children” are marked by negative mood and withdraw from things that are new and unfamiliar. They are also irregular in bodily functions and their reactions are intense. Difficult children as babies, don’t keep regular schedules and are resistant to new activities. They tend to cry a lot and are prone to tantrums. “Slow to warm up”, the third temperament, is defined by a low intensity of reaction and low activity level. Slow to warm up children also tend to withdraw when just exposed to something new and adapt slowly.

Temperament does change during a child’s development. Environmental circumstances may modify a child’s behavior or reactions. Even children whose first reaction to a bath is negative may come to accept and even enjoy the activity. However, this does not mean that the characteristic completely disappears. A child who may no longer cry or resist taking a bath may later apply those negative reactions to a new activity. The authors explains this by relaying the case of a 10 year old girl who had been previously well adjusted to school. After she entered a new school she did not adjust to the change easily.

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After reviewing her history, it was discovered that she had shown the same reactions to change during infancy and her first years of school. Personality and temperament are two different things. Temperament is a set of in born traits that organize the child’s approach to the world. Temperament, which is how a child interacts with environmental influences, is a component in the formation of personality. By studying the different temperaments, “easy children”, “difficult children”, and “slow to warm up children”, how they react to environmental stimuli, we can see how different personalities are formed.


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