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Salt Lake City, Utah, January 11-13, 2013

Mary Rothbart's Keynote Address at OTC 2013
Let it Snow!

The 19th Occasional Temperament Conference was held at Westminster College in Salt Lake City Utah. In spite of an unexpected snowstorm, the meeting was attended by about 75 researchers, clinicians and students. The theme of the conference was "Becoming Who We Are," the title of Mary Rothbart's recent book. Mary delivered the keynote address. Roy Martin and Mary Kurcinka were announced as the Jan Kristal Memorial Award winners. The conference was notable for the number of papers investigating genes and temperament, and others looking at role of executive functions in relation to the effortful control dimension. The next OTC scheduled for Fall 2014 will be hosted by Kathleen Rudasill at the University of Nebraska.

Click here for OTC 2013 presentations

The 18th Occasional Temperament Conference

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Professionals gather to share findings, ideas
2010 Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Maine
(This summary is based on a report filed by Bill Carey.) The meeting was hosted by Sam Putnam and his group at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. It was in some ways a transitional year, which he managed masterfully. (Earlier Bowdoin graduates such as Hawthorne, Longfellow, and Ambassador George Mitchell would be proud.)

Attendance was about 80, larger than the usual 50 or so, bigger but not too big. The usual friendly atmosphere prevailed and there was sufficient time to discuss matters formally and informally. Participants were the usual mixture of academic and clinical practitioner researchers, coming from all over the USA, several countries in Europe, and elsewhere.

The program offered various aspects of temperament research. Theoretical investigations covered environmental effects on, and interactions of temperament with, family, school, and culture and physical ones like intrauterine cocaine exposure. Discussion of clinical applications included problem solving in pediatrics, nursing, clinical psychology and education. Other discussions focused on "What is temperament now?" and temperament-cognitive links. The 24 posters offered further views.

A novelty this year was three simultaneous preconference workshops on person-centered analysis, clinical applications, and cross-cultural data. Previously we have avoided splitting up the whole group in any way in order to avoid creating factions. I believe, however, that this year's experience demonstrated that such special interest sessions are a valuable addition to consider repeating next time.

Another innovation was the initiation of the Kristal award. This was named for Jan Kristal, who hosted the previous OTC meeting in 2008 in San Rafael, CA, but who died of cancer shortly after. The intention was to recognize at each OTC meeting a person who like Jan has made significant contributions to the clinical applications of temperament research, which is much in need of encouragement. The ad hoc committee (who excluded themselves from consideration) decided on three recipients for this year in order to catch up after 12 years with no such recognition. Those honored: Barbara Keogh, Jim Cameron, and Sean McDevitt. We expect this to become a regular part of the OTC.
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   Other Studies:
Temperament and Culture
Some researchers are studying whether temperament traits are found in all cultures...
Cross-cultural research
requires collaboration amongst scientists in many countries!
Personality Traits
What is the connection?
Studies have attempted to find out.
Factor analysis has identified
"The Big Five" dimensions of personality. Temperament researchers are looking at relationships between temperament and personality factors.
Measures of brain function
have been connected to temperament and behavioral inhibition.
Toddler shyness seems to predict
social anxiety in preadolescents. Look at the evidence!
Can temperament affect educational performance?
Studies have examined this question
in both regular and special education settings.