Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

STARS: Shyness and Confidence in Social Situations

Why do some children confront social challenges with confidence, whereas others experience difficulties? What is the role of child temperament and child emotional dispositions? What is the role of parenting? This project aims to shed light on the mechanisms explaining shyness and confidence in response to social situations in late childhood years. We investigate the role of child temperament as well as of child and parents’ emotional dispositions in understanding individual differences in shyness and confidence.

Evin Aktar
Leiden University Fund (LUF)

Multi-level Investigation of Child Reactions

Shyness and confidence are multi-layered phenomena, simultaneously operating at the physiological, cognitive, and behavioral levels. This project adopts a multi-level approach to capture the real-life complexity of child reactions. We investigate children’s physiological and behavioral reactions during social challenges, along with the cognitive aspects like how they perceive, interpret and attend to the social situation. This project will enable to understand the different layers of shy/confident reactions, and their interrelations.

The role of Child Temperament

Earlier theory and evidence suggest that children with a fearful temperament are more likely to react with shyness when confronted with social challenges. The study makes use of children’s and parents’ report of temperament to explore the link of temperament to different layers of child reactions.

The role of Parent and Child Emotional Dispositions

Children’s and parents’ general dispositions for positive and negative emotions may explain part of the observed variation in shyness and confidence. The study explores whether parents’ and children’s general emotional characteristics and dispositions relate to different aspects of shy or confident responses.

Interested in participating? See https://www.starsleiden.org/

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