In Temperament as a Regulator of Behavior: After Fifty Years of Research, Jan Strelau describes his 50-year investigation of temperament that began with tests of Pavlov's physiological assumptions and culminated in his Regulative Theory of Temperament (RTT). In her review of this book, Patricia Ashton points out that Strelau's research has been guided by a strong explanatory focus missing in theories of temperament in the United States (a point also made in the book's Foreword). She further writes: "The lack of such theories generally in psychological research in the United States appears, at least in part, to be the legacy of the anti-theoretical dominance of behaviorism and the pragmatism of researchers who failed to heed Kurt Lewin's (1951) dictum: 'There is nothing so practical as a good theory' (p. 169)."
Does temperament research conducted by U.S. psychologists lack explanatory focus? As the reviewer suggests, is this a problem with psychological research conducted in the United States in general?
Why has Strelau's theory of temperament sparked significant research in Europe, but not in the United States, and at what cost?
By Patricia T. Ashton
PsycCRITIQUES, 2009 Vol 54(1)