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Extreme Fear, Shyness, and Social Phobia$
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Louis A. Schmidt and Jay Schulkin

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780195118872

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195118872.001.0001

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Neural Mechanisms and the Development of Individual Differences in Behavioral Inhibition

Neural Mechanisms and the Development of Individual Differences in Behavioral Inhibition

Chapter:
(p.97) 6 Neural Mechanisms and the Development of Individual Differences in Behavioral Inhibition
Source:
Extreme Fear, Shyness, and Social Phobia
Author(s):

Takahashi Lorey K.

Kalin Ned H.

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195118872.003.0007

This chapter reports the evidence from a series of longitudinal studies that indicate that there may be a distinct pattern of physiological responses which depicts and characterizes different types of shy children. It begins with a conceptualization of shyness in which it is argued that individual differences emerge out of the underlying motivation tendencies of approach-avoidance. It also reviews the evidence from studies of animals and humans that implicate the frontal cortex and the forebrain amygdala as a possible neuroanatomical circuit that underlies different types of shyness. It then outlines a diathesis-stress model that may account for different types of shyness, arguing that the individual differences in forebrain sensitivity may reflect a predisposition toward the dysregulation of fear responses. Furthermore, it evaluates the evidence from a series of longitudinal studies that have been conducting over the last decade with infants, preschoolers, school-aged children, and adults that corroborate this model. It closes with a discussion of how knowledge of individual differences in shyness may inform theory and practice.

Keywords:   shyness, children, dysregulation, behavior, frontal cortex, forebrain amygdala, infants, fear

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