Temperament and the Pursuit of an Integrated Developmental Psychology

Historically, developmental psychology has been split into the areas of social development and cognitive development, with the cognitive area most recently dominating the field. Nevertheless, basic questions about development often require more integrative approaches, cutting across social and cognitive areas, while taking advantage of recent discoveries in psychobiology and our knowledge of general principles of development. Presenting recent advances in the study of temperament as an example, it is suggested that rather than emphasizing distinctions between areas, it may be preferable to offer general training in developmental psychology, with a student's specializations organized around research questions rather than area boundaries. Advances in temperament research include refinement of our understanding of basic dimensions of temperament, identification of the construct of effortful control, and making links to the neuroscience of development.