Shyness and emotion‐processing skills in preschoolers: a 6‐month longitudinal study

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The present study utilized a short‐term longitudinal research design to examine the hypothesis that shyness in preschoolers is differentially related to different aspects of emotion processing. Using teacher reports of shyness and performance measures of emotion processing, including (1) facial emotion recognition, (2) non‐facial emotion recognition, and (3) emotional perspective‐taking, we examined 337 Head Start attendees twice at a 24‐week interval. Results revealed significant concurrent and longitudinal relationships between shyness and facial emotion recognition, and either minimal or non‐existent relationships between shyness and the other aspects of emotion processing. Correlational analyses of concurrent assessments revealed that shyness predicted poorer facial emotion recognition scores for negative emotions (sad, angry, and afraid), but not a positive emotion (happy). Analyses of change over time, on the other hand, revealed that shyness predicted change in facial emotion recognition scores for all four measured emotions. Facial emotion recognition scores did not predict changes in shyness. Results are discussed with respect to expanding the scope of research on shyness and emotion processing to include time‐dependent studies that allow for the specification of developmental processes.


This article was originally published in Infant and Child Development. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Infant and Child Development


Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.