cover of book

The Temperamental Thread: How Genes, Culture, Time and Luck make Us Who We Are
by Jerome Kagan
Dana Press, 2010
Cloth: 978-1-932594-50-8 | eISBN: 978-1-932594-40-9
Library of Congress Classification BF798.K34 2010
Dewey Decimal Classification 155.234


Temperament is the single most pervasive aspect of us and our fellow human beings. We notice it; we gossip about it; we make judgments based on it; we unconsciously shape our lives around 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 an individual’s personality. He presents solid evidence to show how genes, gender, culture, and chance interact with temperament and influence a mature personality. He explains how temperament sets the stage for the many personality variations that we see all around us.

Research into temperament, powered by the new tools of neuroscience and psychological science, is enriching our understanding of others in every context, from our closest relationships to those in workplaces, schools, and even casual encounters. Jerome Kagan shows us how.

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