The effect of temperament on cognition during the first two years
Carminar, Patricia Melloy
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The study was designed to determine the relationships among temperament, cross-modal transfer, object permanence, and mental and physical development in children during their first and second years. The study included 40 full-term infants of low to middle socio-economic status. All infants were free from any known neurological or visual abnormalities. Temperament was measured between 8 and 11 months using the Carey Revised Infant Temperament Questionnaire (RITQ) and at 24 months using the Toddler Temperament Scale (TTS). Mental and motor development were assessed by the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.;It was hypothesized that the nine dimensions of Temperament measured by the RITQ and TTS would be stable over the period of the study, as indicated by a significant correlation for each dimension between the first and second testings. Research questions were generated regarding the concurrent and predictive relationships between the temperament dimensions and the cognitive variables.;Results indicated significant correlations between 8 to 11 and 24 month temperament scale scores on five dimensions of temperament measured by the Carey instruments: rhythmicity, approach, adaptability, mood and threshold. Stability coefficients for these dimensions ranged from.37 to.50 and were comparable to those reported in previous studies of the stability of temperament.;Factor analyses of 8 to 11 and 24-month temperament characteristics suggested that the same three dimensions were measured by the Carey at each testing. The three factors were: (1) sociability, loading on approach, positive mood, and adaptability, (2) tractability, loading on rhythmicity, low threshold, persistence and low distractibility; and (3) activity, loading on activity and intensity. Stability coefficients for the three factors were.46 for sociability,.58 for evenness and.34 for activity.;Correlations between temperament scale scores and scores on the developmental measures offered little support for the view that temperament is related to cognitive development concurrently, and little support for the notion that temperament at 8 to 11 months predicts subsequent cognitive development. Scores on the sociability and activity factors at 8 to 11 months were correlated moderately with 24 month motor development scores, when 12 month motor development scores were controlled.;The number of significant findings may have been limited by the fact that the sample of children lacked variability with respect to 8 to 11 month temperament categories. Many were perceived by their mothers as being difficult. This study should be replicated using a sample stratified on the basis of temperament, so as to insure a broad range of initial temperament categories.