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Colloquium Graduate School of Child Development and Education on Monday 31 October 2022

Last modified on 25-10-2022
The next Graduate School colloquium will be on Monday 31 October. Dr. Cristina Colonnesi will present recent research findings (for abstract, see below).
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Start date
31-10-2022 12:00
End date
31-10-2022 12:30


With the aim of promoting academic exchange and cooperation, we would like to invite all (research master) students, researchers and other staff members to attend the colloquium. 

Day:               Monday 31 October 2022
Time:            1 - 1.30pm CET
Loction:    REC-B3.09 

We look forward to seeing you at the Graduate School Colloquium!   

With kind regards, also on behalf of Cristina Colonnesi, Andries van der Ark, Annette van Maanen, Qingqing Du (q.du@uva.nlExternal link) and Jiajun Mo (j.mo@uva.nlExternal link). 


Expression of Shyness and Pointing Gesture in the Second Year of Life
Cristina Colonnesi

Already in the first year of life, during novel social situations, infants express their arousal or ambivalent feelings displaying shyness in a positive manner, through coy smiles. These expressions are stable in the first two years of life and, other than negative expressions of shyness (i.e., withdrawal), are self-regulated and socially adaptive reactions. Positive shyness relates to higher levels of sociability and theory of mind, and to lower levels of attentional bias, and anxiety in childhood. However, the impact of positive shyness on social-communicative development in infancy has not been examined yet. In the present study, we investigated whether infants’ use of pointing gestures is affected by infants’ tendency to express shyness in social situations. Our hypotheses were that 1) infants who express their shyness in a positive way are those who produce more pointing gestures to share attention during positive social situations, 2) infants who express their shyness in a non-positive way are those who produce more pointing gestures to inform or alert but not to share pleasant social situations.    

Participants were 80 infants (35 girls) with a mean age of 13.62 months. Infants’ production of pointing was measured with the Declarative task. The production of pointing gestures was coded during the presentation of three stimuli: pleasant stimuli (moving toy spirals), neutral stimuli (pieces of fabrics), and unpleasant stimuli (spider and snake toys). Infants’ expressions of shyness were coded during a situation of exposure to social attention: the infants entered for the first time the lab in their mothers’ arms. They were welcomed by an unknown researcher giving enhanced attention and compliments. Infants’ positive expressions of shyness (i.e., gaze of head aversions during smile) and negative expressions of shyness (i.e., gaze of head aversion during neutral, scared, or irritated facial expressions) were coded on a micro-level.

We performed moderation regression analyses to test the predictive value of age as control variables, and positive and negative expressions of shyness as predictors on infants’ production of pointing gestures during the presentations of pleasant, neutral, and unpleasant stimuli. The results show that infants’ expression of positive shyness significantly predicted pointing gestures to share attention towards pleasant stimuli, while infants’ expression of non-positive shyness was associated with their production of pointing toward unpleasant stimuli. The results suggest that infants’ referential communication is connected to their sociability and to the ability to regulate their self-conscious reactions. 

Graduate School Colloquia for the next academic year will take place on:       

  • 28 November 200
  • 30 January 2023

Colloquiumcategorie: scriptiepresentaties