Frontal brain maturation and the stability of children’s shyness
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Recent evidence suggests that relative to nonshy children, shy children exhibit a lower overall frontal EEG alpha/delta ratio (ADR) during middle childhood, possibly reflecting relatively less frontal brain maturation at this age. We examined this same ADR measure in relation to the stability of observed shyness and parent-reported child social anxiety measured across two laboratory visits separated by approximately 1 year during late childhood in 51 children (33% female, age range 10-16 years). We found that the overall frontal ADR score was significantly lower among children with high, stable observed shyness and parent-reported child social anxiety compared to children in the low, stable class. Findings provide convergent evidence suggesting that the stability of shyness in late childhood may be linked to relatively less overall frontal brain maturation at this age. We speculate on the adaptive function of delaying frontal brain maturation in the origins and maintenance of children's shyness.
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