Researchers Want To Know More About What Makes Children Shy

Researcher is launching a longitudinal study that will examine why some babies are more shy than others.The Baby Scientist author and researcher, Vanessa LoBue, is launching a longitudinal study that will examine why some babies are more shy than others.

Researcher and mom Vanessa LoBue wants to know what makes babies grow into shy children, and is looking to find out why through an extensive study that will involve hundreds of babies and their reactions to many tests and tasks.

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LoBue is an assistant professor of psychology at Rutgers University-Newark and author of The Baby Scientist, where she deciphers developmental research into easier to understand language. She specializes in infant and child emotional development and believes that their reactions to social and non-social threats may shape their ‘shy factor.’

She believes that babies who spend more time focusing on or anxious over ‘angry faces’ will be more likely to be ‘shy’ or exhibit more behavioral inhibition as they grow. Those babies, she believes, may form neural wiring that will predispose them to pay more attention to negative social information, and therefore, be more inhibited in social settings.

Related: Separation Anxiety: “Mommy, Will I Be OK?”

The study will be a long-term one that will assess and measure various anxiety and fear relationships, as well as reactions to negative information and their role in the development of anxiety.

LoBue and her team will focus on 450 babies at two sites in Pennsylvania, and follow them over the course of two years. They hope their findings might lead the way to funding for children over the age of two, and believes the practical application will prevent much of the alarmist presentation that research tends to take today.


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