Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking (2012), by Susan Cain, draws our attention to the physiological link behind the so-called personality development.
Cain highlights the striking findings by Jerome Kagan, a researcher at Harvard, who devoted his career to studying emotional development of children.
Through a series of studies, Kagan followed children from infancy through adolescence, keeping records of their physiologies and personalities along the way.
Kagan and his team exposed the four-month-olds to a carefully chosen set of experiments. The infants heard unfamiliar voices and balloon popping saw colorful mobiles move before their eyes, and inhale the smell of alcohol on cotton swabs. They had various reactions to these new stimuli. About 20 percent cried and pumped their arms and legs. Kagan called this group “high – reactive.” About 40 percent stayed quiet and calm, moving their arms or legs occasionally but without all the dramatic limb movement. This group Kagan called “low – reactive”. The remaining fell between these two extremes. In startling counterintuitive hypothesis, Kagan predicted that it was the infants the high reactive group – the energetic arm pumpers who were most likely to grow into cautious, and quiet teenagers.
How can Kagan predict that the arm – thrashing infants would likely turn into cautious, reflective teens while the quiet babies were more likely to become the forthright? The answer lies in the science of brain.
Also, Kagan’s teams measured their heart rates, blood pressure, finger temperature and other aspects of the nervous system. Kagan chose these measures because they believed these are controlled by an organ (inside the brain) called the amygdale. The amygdale is located deep inside our brain and also found in an ancient brain network of primitive animals like mice and rats. The network- sometimes called the “emotional brain” orchestrating many of the basic instincts we share with these animals, such as appetite and fear. One of amygdale’s functions is to instantly detect threats to us in the environment.
Kagan findings suggest that infants born with an especially sensitive amygdale would wiggle and howl when shown unfamiliar objects and grow up into children who would be more likely to feel cautious when meeting new people.
- physiological [adjective]- deals with the ways that living things function
- counterintuitive [adjective]- different from what you would expect or not agreeing with what seems right or natural
- stimuli [noun]- something that causes something else to happen, develop, or become more active
- thrash [verb]- to hit (someone or something) very hard with a stick, whip, etc.
- primitive [adjective]- of, belonging to, or seeming to come from an early time in the very ancient past
- Prepositions = by, through, to, on
- Possessive Adjectives [pronoun + noun] = his career, their physiologies
- Phrasal Verb “turn into” = to be changed or transformed
- Susan Cain, draws our attention to the physiological link behind the so-called personality development.
- She highlights the striking findings by Jerome Kagan, a researcher from Harvard, who devoted his career to studying emotional development of children.
- Kagan and his team exposed the four-months-old to a carefully chosen set of experiments.
- Also Kagan's teams measured the heart rates, blood pressure, finger temperature and other aspects of the nervous system believing they are controlled by an organ (inside the brain).
- Kagan's findings suggest the infants born with an especially sensitive amygdale would wiggle and howl when shown unfamiliar objects and grown up children would be more likely to feel cautious when meeting new people.
Make a Sentence
- emotional, instincts, wiggle, sensitive, appetite