Temperament Characteristics

Characteristics of Temperament

"Theories if psychological development, whatever their bias, generally presume a linear predictability sequence from conception or birth onward."

From Thomas and Chess' quantitative inter-year correlations of temperament for years one to five, and from the qualitative derived vignettes, the authors conclude that temperament does not necessarily follow a consistent, linear course.

The stability of temperament has been reported by Buss and Plomin (1984), and Costa, McCrea, and Anenberg (1980). Among the most stable personality traits reported are emotionality, activity, and sociability. Reported retest coefficients for temperamental traits measured by the Guilford-Zimmerman Temperament Survey at 6- and 12-year intervals ranged from .59 to .87 (Van Heck, 1991). It can be said that temperament variables show moderate to high stability across time. Kagan, Reznick and Sidman (1986) reported that,

Mehrabian (1991) proposes that for most practical purposes, attempts to modify temperaments are doomed.

More specifically, Mehrabian believes that the more general a trait is that is to be modified, the greater the difficulty in modifying it.

The environmental factors that favor the individuation of temperament in one direction or another,

The study of temperament and development in a variety of cultural contexts is also noted by Super and Harkness (1986). The issue of culture leads the authors to a fundamental question about the organization, function, and development of behavior. The authods note that there is a "...source of between-group variation in the bahaviors commonly used to index temperament that are not major sources of within-group variance, or at least have not been well investigated within samples because they lack visibility and do not fit easily in the traditional dialectic between nature and nurture" (p.145).

Rothbart (1991) documents the strong similarities between the dimensions of temperament emerging from developmental analysis and the majority of personality dimensions from factor analysis of scales assessing personality in adulthood. Rothbart notes that in Tellegen's work,

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    Peter L. Heineman
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