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Temperament

The term temperament is used by developmental scientists to refer to individual differences in reactivity and regulation that are apparent early in life, endure across time and situation, and have a biological basis. Reactivity refers to a person’s initial reaction to a change in the environment (e.g., some children are far more scared by a novel person or excited about a present than other children), and regulation concerns processes that allow the person to control their attention or behavior (e.g., some children are more able than others to wait for a prize). This entry first provides a history of scholarship on temperament. Research regarding the components, measurement, biological bases, and development of temperament is covered next. The entry ends with a section on temperament in ...

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