Ψ Each of the traditional approaches emphasizes the role of the caregiver. But the child also "brings something to the table" biological tendencies called "temperament".
Ψ Temperament refers to a relatively consistent inborn disposition that underlie one's response to people and events. It is said to be the building block of personality. It has three dimensions (according to Buss):
Ψ According to the NYLS, temperament can be distinguished in terms of 9 characteristics evident in the first days of life:
- activity level
- intensity of reaction,
- threshold of responsiveness
- quality of mood
Ψ In terms of the above combinations most infants can be described as one of three types: easy/good (40%), slow-to-warm-up/shy (15%) and difficult (10%). The rest do not easily fit these categories.
Ψ Differences in temperament can be organized into individual differences in personality (such as the "Big Five" trait dimensions) which follow.
- Neuroticism: anxious, moody, & self-punishing
Ψ The care giving environment can influence the expression of temperamental dispositions. It is best for parents to adjust their child-rearing expectations to their child's temperamental style to minimize conflict. This is called, establishing a goodness-of-fit.