Chapter

Neural Mechanisms and the Development of Individual Differences in Behavioral Inhibition

Takahashi Lorey K. and Kalin Ned H.

in Extreme Fear, Shyness, and Social Phobia

Published in print October 1999 | ISBN: 9780195118872
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199848232 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195118872.003.0007

Series: Series in Affective Science

Neural Mechanisms and the Development of Individual Differences in Behavioral Inhibition

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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

Chapter.  9346 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Psychology

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