Reuters (via MSNBC.com) reports on research by Lahey et. al. regarding the correlation between an infant’s behavior (and its interactions with parents) and the child’s temperment later in life:
The study, which followed nearly 1,900 children from infancy up to age 13, found that children whose mothers gave them plenty of intellectual stimulation in the first year of life — reading to them, talking to them and taking them out of the house — were less likely to have serious behavioral problems.
At the same time, the odds of behavior problems were also linked to certain measures of the children’s temperament during infancy — such as how “fussy” they were, or whether they had a generally happy or more moody disposition.
I don’t know much about research on temperment but I note that famed Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky argued that cognitive development is driven by one’s interactions with others; much contemporary research supports Vygotsky’s view.