Title

Don’t talk to strangers, or should you? Shy children’s vocalizations with parents and strangers

Poster Number

16C

Lead Author Major

Psychology

Lead Author Status

Senior

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Jessica Grady

Faculty Mentor Email

jgrady@pacific.edu

Faculty Mentor Department

Psychology

Abstract/Artist Statement

Shy children experience fear and anxiety in social settings. This fear often leads to being quiet, despite desiring to interact (Coplan & Evans, 2009). Shy children’s lack of verbal behavior is important because it may disrupt the development of communication skills (Coplan & Weeks, 2009). The present study examined shy toddlers’ vocalizations in relation to aspects of the social context, including social familiarity and parents’ utterances. The goal was to identify a context that may support shy toddlers’ communication.

Participants were 54 shy toddlers (22 boys; Mage = 23.31 months, range 21-24 months) and their parents (mostly mothers). They completed a series of episodes from the Lab-TAB (Buss & Goldsmith, 2000), in which toddlers were presented with unfamiliar social stimuli. All toddlers were pre-selected as temperamentally shy (>1 SD of the TBAQ social fear subscale; Goldsmith, 1996).

Child positive/neutral vocalizations and parent utterances were coded in Datavyu using event sampling. For each episode, coding occurred in two different contexts: familiar (20s before and after the stimulus entered) and unfamiliar (2-4 min period when the stimulus was in the room). Scores were proportionalized by duration of each context.

Results showed that shy children vocalized more with familiar people than with unfamiliar people. However, in the unfamiliar context, children did not differ in vocalizations by type of stimulus. Parent utterances were positively associated with child vocalizations in the stranger working episode only; however, these vocalizations were primarily parent-directed.

Since shy children vocalized more frequently when left alone with a parent than when an unfamiliar stimulus was present, further research needs to address what specific types of parent utterances can encourage shy children to adapt to unfamiliar environments.

Location

DeRosa University Center Ballroom

Start Date

27-4-2018 12:30 PM

End Date

27-4-2018 2:30 PM

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Apr 27th, 12:30 PM Apr 27th, 2:30 PM

Don’t talk to strangers, or should you? Shy children’s vocalizations with parents and strangers

DeRosa University Center Ballroom

Shy children experience fear and anxiety in social settings. This fear often leads to being quiet, despite desiring to interact (Coplan & Evans, 2009). Shy children’s lack of verbal behavior is important because it may disrupt the development of communication skills (Coplan & Weeks, 2009). The present study examined shy toddlers’ vocalizations in relation to aspects of the social context, including social familiarity and parents’ utterances. The goal was to identify a context that may support shy toddlers’ communication.

Participants were 54 shy toddlers (22 boys; Mage = 23.31 months, range 21-24 months) and their parents (mostly mothers). They completed a series of episodes from the Lab-TAB (Buss & Goldsmith, 2000), in which toddlers were presented with unfamiliar social stimuli. All toddlers were pre-selected as temperamentally shy (>1 SD of the TBAQ social fear subscale; Goldsmith, 1996).

Child positive/neutral vocalizations and parent utterances were coded in Datavyu using event sampling. For each episode, coding occurred in two different contexts: familiar (20s before and after the stimulus entered) and unfamiliar (2-4 min period when the stimulus was in the room). Scores were proportionalized by duration of each context.

Results showed that shy children vocalized more with familiar people than with unfamiliar people. However, in the unfamiliar context, children did not differ in vocalizations by type of stimulus. Parent utterances were positively associated with child vocalizations in the stranger working episode only; however, these vocalizations were primarily parent-directed.

Since shy children vocalized more frequently when left alone with a parent than when an unfamiliar stimulus was present, further research needs to address what specific types of parent utterances can encourage shy children to adapt to unfamiliar environments.