Temperament is each person's unique way of thinking, behaving, and reacting to other people and situations. Although every person is different, basic patterns of temperament exist, such as being shy and withdrawn or outgoing and eager to try new things.
Temperament often affects a person's:
- Emotional responses. For example, some babies are more sensitive to stimuli and are easily overloaded. These babies may react to playful rocking or tickling by crying. Babies who are less sensitive might squeal with delight.
- Ability to focus without being distracted. Although this is partially a learned skill, a person's ability to concentrate on one thing at a time is also a trait that is related to temperament. People who are easily frustrated or very sociable may have a hard time staying on task.
- Ability to adapt to changing situations. Some people seem to naturally be able to embrace change. Others are very resistant to any new routine.
- Activity level. Some people like to interact with people and be "on the go." Others prefer quiet activities and are often alone.
Temperament is greatly shaped and affected by a person's life experiences and environment. For example, a shy child who is hugged and praised often will develop self-confidence. This helps him or her respond in a positive way to new situations.
Temperament may change over time as a person ages.
Current as of: August 21, 2015
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & Donald Sproule, MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine & Louis Pellegrino, MD - Developmental Pediatrics
Public Health Alerts
Public health alerts include information about outbreaks, advisories and product recalls. Click on the links below to read the most recent alerts, or visit our Public Health Alerts web page.
Want More Information?
HealthLink BC, your provincial health line, is as close as your phone or the web any time of the day or night, every day of the year.
Call 8-1-1 toll-free in B.C. or for deaf and hearing-impaired, call 7-1-1.
You can speak with a health service navigator, who can also connect you with a:
- registered nurse any time, every day of the year;
- registered dietitian from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday;
- pharmacist from 5pm to 9am, every day of the year.
Translation services are available in more than 130 languages.
FIND Services and Resources
If you are looking for health services in your community, you can use our directory to FIND hospitals, clinics, and other resources.
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Is it an emergency?
If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be life-threatening. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately. If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.