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Shyness and Vocabulary: The Roles of Executive Functioning and Home Environmental Stimulation.

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  • 1The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


Although shyness has often been found to be negatively related to vocabulary, few studies have examined the processes that produce or modify this relation. The present study examined executive functioning skills and home environmental stimulation as potential mediating and moderating mechanisms. A sample of 3.5-year-old children (N=254) were administered executive functioning tasks and a vocabulary test during a laboratory visit. Mothers completed questionnaires assessing child shyness and home environmental stimulation. Our primary hypothesis was that executive functioning mediates the association between shyness and vocabulary, and home environmental stimulation moderates the relation between executive functioning and vocabulary. Alternative hypotheses were also tested. Results indicated that children with better executive functioning skills developed stronger vocabularies when reared in more, versus less, stimulating environments. Implications of these results are discussed in terms of the role of shyness, executive functioning, and home environmental stimulation in early vocabulary development.

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