Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Upton I 30
Cultural Differences/Kagan/Developmental psychology/Upton: In the paper ‘Reactivity in infants: a cross-national comparison’ Kagan et al. (1994)(1) argue that behavioural traits, such as the amount of motor activity seen in infants, are innate. In this study, Kagan provides evidence for very different patterns of motor arousal in four-month-old infants in three different cultures – China, Ireland and the USA. The data suggest that Chinese infants are much calmer, quieter and less fretful than the American and Irish infants, which Kagan cites as evidence for biological differences in temperament between Caucasian and Asian infants.
Upton I 31
Questions: Can we be certain that these differences [including motor activity, fretting, crying and vocalization] are biological? At what point in development is experience relevant? For example, how might prenatal experiences have influenced the behaviours shown by these infants?


1. Kagan,J, Articus, D. and Snidman, N. et al. (1994) Reactivity in infants: a cross-national
comparison. Developmental Psychology, 30: 3 42—5.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Developmental Psychology
Upton I
Penney Upton
Developmental Psychology 2011


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