Temperament is the single most pervasive fact about us and our fellow travelers in life. We notice it; we gossip about it; we make judgments based on it; we unconsciously shape our lives with it.
In The Temperamental Thread, developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan draws on decades of research to describe the nature of temperament—the in-born traits that underlie our responses to experience. Along the way he answers such questions as, How does the temperament we are born with affect the rest of our lives? Are we set at birth on an irrevocable path of optimism or pessimism? Must a fussy baby always become an anxious adult?
Kagan paints a picture of temperament as a thread that, when woven with those of life experiences, forms the whole cloth of personality. He presents solid evidence to show how genes, gender, culture, and happenstance contribute to temperament as well as influence and shape a mature personality. He explains how temperament sets the stage for the myriad of personality variations, from the dazzling to the desperate, that we see all around us.
Temperament research, powered by the new tools of neuroscience and psychological science, will be an important source of tomorrow’s ideas, as well as enriching our understanding of others in every context, from our closest relationships to those in workplaces, schools, and even causal encounters. In a highly readable and enjoyable style, Jerome Kagan shows us how.