Woodward, A. Kagan, J. Snidman, N. Arcus, D. (2000). Taxonic Structure of Infant Reactivity: Evidence From a Taxometric Perspective, 11(4), 296-301.
The Purpose of the Article.
The purpose of the article is to determine and evaluate whether a qualitative latent structure, which is consistent with theoretical conjectures provided in an earlier research (a theoretical framework that classified infants into qualitative categories of reactivity, rather than on a continuous dimension) would be found to underlie quantitative indices of reactivity to stimuli in a sample of 599 four-month-old infants. The results are then presented in an objective statistical procedure (maximum covariance analysis, or MAXCOV). The results are then analyzed to show clear evidence of a latent discontinuity underlying the behavioral measures of infant reactivity. In short, the primary goal of the current investigation was to use an objective statistical procedure designed to detect the presence or absence of a latent class underlying quantitative data on infant reactivity.
The Hypothesis of the Study.
The hypothesis of this study concerns differences in the excitability of the limbic structures, and their projections to the hypothalamus, cingulate cortex, stria terminalis, hippocampus, and the central guy. The amygdala is of special interest because it has been shown that the amygdala responds to unfamiliar stimuli and therefore to the novel events presented to the 4-month-old infants. In particular, the thresholds of excitability for the basolateral and central areas of the amygdala may play pivotal roles in infant reactivity. These two sites are modulated by different neurochemicals, and their afferent and efferent patterns are distinct. Specifically, visual and auditory stimuli synapse on the basolateral area, which is modulated to a significant degree by gamma amino butyric acid. In contrast, the central nucleus is modulated more significantly by corti cotropin-releasing hormone
Variables (factors) being looked at as an influence on personality.
The article looks at eleven variables that influence personality. These are; movement of legs and arms, the rupture or tear of arms and legs, the straightening or opening of limb joints beyond their normal healthy range, back arches, smiles, speech production, anxiety, and worry, fussing and lastly crying. Four of the variables were selected by statistical and theoretical inclusion criteria which are used as basic data in the statistical model.
If these variables or the relationship between these variables have been studied before, what have other studies found? This shows historical significance.
Several other studies have been conducted in this field, some of animals and others on infants. In their 1984 research study, Davis and Co. identified the circuits that mediate the acquisition of conditioned fear reactions. In 1988, Blizard and Co. showed that strain differences existed in the tendency to approach or avoid novelty in rats, cats, and primates. These experiments which were conducted on animals showed that projections which originate from the basolateral area to the ventral pallidum form a connecting link between variations in motor activity, while projections from the core area of the amygdala to the central gray more often mediate distress cries.
Research Design used in the Study
Research designs are of two types; descriptive, experimental, correlational, semi-experimental and review (deals with literature review and systematic review). Descriptive research design is concerned with case studies and naturalistic observations. A semi-experimental research design is concerned with field and quasi-experiments. Correlational research design deals with case controls and observational studies. The current study is a descriptive research design, and this is because the research entails the observation of subjects while in their natural environment, this is referred to as naturalistic observation.
Ethics in Research
Ethics can be defined as the means and techniques through which a researcher decides to act or how he solves intricate issues and problems that he encounters in the research process. There are several principles of ethics in research, but they can be categorized into three main principles; respect and regard for individuals, beneficence, and fairness (justice). The researcher needs people who provide information for his research. It's imperative to ensure that these people are acting independently without being forced. The researcher has to ensure the subjects are aware of the study, its nature, scope, the risks associated with it, its respective benefits etc. The subjects should be given a chance to make any inquiries before participating. In a situation where the participants have little autonomy, i.e. prisoners, children, it is important to make sure that they are not forced in any way. Beneficence implies that the researcher should try as much as he can to maximize the research's benefits while mitigating and minimizing the probable harms as much as possible. Justice and fairness mean the selection process of the subjects should be impartial and unbiased. In our article, the subjects had diminished autonomy (four-month-old infants), but the consent of the mothers was given. The sample had 281 girls, and 318 boys were healthy, and their selection was not stratified in any regard. Of the three main principles, the research has adhered to two, and as such, we can conclude it was conducted in an ethical manner.
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