Temperament Traits Chart

Dimensions Typical Behavioral Indicator The Adult... The Child...
Activity Level refers to the general level of motor activity when one is awake or asleep. Motor activity involves large and small muscle movement like running, jumping, rolling over, holding a crayon, picking up toys, etc. High Activity has difficulty sitting still. is squirmy and active.
Low Activity sits back quietly and prefers sedentary activities. prefers less noise and movement.
Distractibility is the ease with which one can be distracted; or conversely, his level of concentration or focus. High Distractibility has difficulty concentrating, paying attention when engaged in an activity, and is easily distracted by sounds or sights during activities. is very distracted by discomfort, noticing even small signals such as hunger, being sleepy, etc.
Low Distractibility has a high degree of concentration, pays attention when engaged in an activity, and is not easily distracted by sounds or sights during activities. can handle discomfort, does not seem very bothered at all.
Intensity refers to the energy level of one’s emotional response, both positive and negative. High Intensity has strong or intense positive and negative reactions.
Low Intensity has muted emotional reactions.
Regularity relates to the predictability of biological functions such as eating, sleeping, etc. Highly Regular has predictable appetite, sleep, and elimination patterns.
Irregular has unpredictable appetite, sleep, and elimination patterns.
Sensitivity describes how responsive one is to physical stimuli such as light, sound, and textures. High Sensitivity is sensitive to physical stimuli, including sounds, tastes, touch, and temperature changes; is a picky eater; and has difficulty sleeping in a strange bed.
Low Sensitivity is not sensitive to physical stimuli, including sounds, tastes, touch, and temperature changes; can fall asleep anywhere; and tries new foods easily.
Approachability is one’s initial response to new places, situations, or things. High Approaching eagerly approaches new situations or people.
Low Approaching is hesitant and resistant when faced with new situations, people, or things.
Adaptability describes how easily one adjusts to changes and transitions. High Adaptability transitions easily to new activities and situations. requires very small amount of time to feel ok in new situations.
Low Adaptability needs more time for transitioning to new activities or situations. may cry or stay close to a caregiver before approaching a new situation.
Persistence relates to the length of time one continues in activities in the face of obstacles. High Persistence continues with a task or activity in the face of obstacles and does not get easily frustrated.
Low Persistence moves on to a new task or activity when faced with obstacles and gets frustrated easily.
Mood is one’s tendency to react to the world primarily in a positive or negative way. Positive Mood reacts to the world in a positive way and is generally cheerful.
Serious Mood reacts in an observant, sometimes more serious way and tends to be thoughtful about new situations.

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Last Reviewed: November 2014

Last Updated: January 22, 2015