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Child Dev. 1989 Aug;60(4):838-45.

Inhibited and uninhibited types of children.

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Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.


An initial group of 100 children who were not selected a priori on any behavioral features were observed in laboratory settings at 14, 20, 32, and 48 months and their behaviors coded for inhibition and lack of inhibition to the unfamiliar. The children who had been extremely inhibited or uninhibited at both 14 and 20 months differed significantly at 4 years of age in behavior and cardiac acceleration to cognitive stress. However, for the entire sample, there was no significant relation between degree of inhibited behavior at 14 or 20 months, on the one hand, and inhibition at 4 years of age, on the other, nor any relation between behavior and heart rate acceleration. These results suggest that the constructs inhibited and uninhibited to the unfamiliar refer to children who fall at the extremes of a phenotypic continuum from shyness and restraint to sociability and affective spontaneity.

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