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Temperament and the Reactions to Unfamiliarity

Jerome Kagan
Child Development
Vol. 68, No. 1 (Feb., 1997), pp. 139-143
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131931
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131931
Page Count: 5
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Temperament and the Reactions to Unfamiliarity
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Abstract

The behavioral reactions to unfamiliar events are basic phenomena in all vertebrates. Four-month-old infants who show a low threshold to become distressed and motorically aroused to unfamiliar stimuli are more likely than others to become fearful and subdued during early childhood, whereas infants who show a high arousal threshold are more likely to become bold and sociable. After presenting some developmental correlates and trajectories of these 2 temperamental biases, I consider their implications for psychopathology and the relation between propositions containing psychological and biological concepts.

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