Professor of Educational Psychology
College of Education
Understanding a child’s temperament is important to his or her development, and is vital information for parents and teachers.
Temperament, the manner of thinking or behaving, impacts the way we acquire energy, process and retain information, and react to aspects of our lives.
Thomas Oakland, a professor of educational psychology in UF’s College of Education, researches ways to better understand the development of children’s temperament.
“His research on children’s temperament has been long-standing,” says M. David Miller, chair of the Department of Educational Psychology. “It discusses issues associated with assessment, especially that of minority children, learning and other school-related disorders, children’s adaptive behavior and legal and ethical issues.”
Oakland’s current research examines age and gender differences in the development of temperament.
“So far, analyses suggest that age differences, although present, are less than one might expect,” Oakland says. “Gender differences are also infrequent.”
For the study, Oakland has acquired temperament data on children aged 9 to 15 from Australia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Nigeria, Palestine, Philippines, People’s Republic of China and Zimbabwe.
He says no other studies of age and gender determining temperament span as broad an age range.
“The availability of a large and nationally representative sample of children adds to the importance of this research,” Oakland says.