A Developmental Framework
  • Mary Klevjord Rothbart
Part of the Perspectives on Individual Differences book series (PIDF)


In our theoretical work on temperament, Douglas Derryberry and I have defined temperament as individual differences in reactivity and self-regulation that are assumed to have a constitutional basis (Rothbart & Derryberry, 1981). By reactivity, we mean the arousability of multiple physiological and behavioral systems of the organism (e. g., somatic, endocrine, autonomic, and central nervous systems) as reflected in response parameters of threshold, latency, intensity, rise time and recovery time. By self-regulation, we refer to processes that act to modulate reactivity, including at the behavioral level selective attention and responsiveness to cues signaling reward and punishment, behavioral inhibition to novel or intense stimuli, and effortful control. When we say that temperament is constitutionally based, we are referring to the relatively enduring aspects of the makeup of the organism, as influenced over time by heredity, maturation and experience.


Behavioral Inhibition Effortful Control Behavioral Inhibition System Infant Temperament Intense Stimulus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary Klevjord Rothbart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA

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