Dimensions of Individual Difference in the Neonate

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There has been an increasing recognition of the capacities and competencies of the newborn infant, and an appreciation of the infant’s active role in eliciting, shaping, and determining aspects of his/her environment. This recognition and appreciation has fostered a change of view about the infant’s development from that of a relatively passive recipient of environmental socialization factors to an active participant in the determination of outcome. As a result, there has been a focus upon some of the characteristics which an infant manifests from the time of birth, in terms of the effect these have on the infant’s interaction with the environment and ultimately on the infant’s growth and affective, cognitive, and personality development. These characteristics are variously referred to as inborn, congenital, or constitutional.