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  The First Two Years:
Psychosocial Development
- Epigenetic Systems Theory -


   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):
                •  activity
                    •  emotionality
                        •  sociability

   Ψ  According to the NYLS, temperament can be distinguished in terms of 9 characteristics evident in the first days of life:

  • activity level
  • rhythmicity
  • approach-withdrawal
  • adaptability
  • intensity of reaction,
  • threshold of responsiveness
  • quality of mood
  • distractibility
  • attention-span

   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.

  • Openness
  • Conscientiousness
  • Extroversion
  • Agreeableness
  • 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.

Human Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates