Research

Temperamental Variation in Infants by Ethnicity and Socioeconomic Status

This project focused on measuring babies' temperaments as infants. Other studies demonstrated how babies' reactions to different sights, smells, and sounds at four months of age related to their personalities later in life.

However, most of those studies focused on children from white, middle class, college-educated families rather than ethnically diverse, low income families or families in which the parents did not have more than a high school education. We felt these children deserved to be understood too.

We recruited volunteers who were parents of a young baby and who met this criteria:

  • had a low income
  • did not have more than a high school education, and
  • were either European-American (white) or Cambodian-American

We conducted a four month temperament assessment that lasted for about 30 minutes. We videotaped the baby's reactions to sights, sounds, and smells in a procedure that was modeled after one used extensively at Harvard University.

This research project was funded by the UML Research Foundation and the Khmer Cultural Institute.