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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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