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The role of temperament in attention, motor and language development

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Individual differences in social motivation have long been the focus of research into typical and atypical development. Temperament during early childhood, and personality in older children/adults, have been a key way of conceptualizing trait like variations in this drive to engage. Surgency is a trait within temperament scales characterized by responsiveness, sociability and approach behaviors. As such, surgency has been of particular interest to researchers studying the social motivation and engagement. Examples of questions around social motivation include how early variations in temperament may demonstrate distinct developmental paths, how this variation may be seen in atypical populations, and how temperament may demonstrate it’s association in the attention, motor and language skills. This presentation will explore the role of surgency in infants’ cognitive, motor and language development. Data will be discussed from a longitudinal study, which tracked infants from birth to 18 months with the Continuous Unified Electronic (CUE) diary method (Ellis-Davies et al., 2012). Within the CUE diary method infants’ motor, cognitive, and communicative development were reported continuously, alongside researcher administered assessments and parent-infant interactions. Specifically this presentation will ask whether surgency is associated with the development of social attention; surgency’s link to the emergence of motor milestones; and the role surgency may have in early language acquisition.

This talk is part of the Social Psychology Seminar Series (SPSS) series.

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