Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Psychology (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Jutta Joormann - Committee Member

Second Committee Member

Krysia Mossakowski - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Heather Henderson - Mentor


This study examined the associations between behavioral inhibition in early childhood and patterns of social-emotional functioning in adolescence. As part of a larger longitudinal study on temperament and social development, adolescents who were recruited as infants completed two tasks to assess social-cognitive biases at follow-up: an information-processing task and an autobiographical memory task. The information-processing task assessed adolescents? interpretations of ambiguous situations. Next, adolescents completed an autobiographical memory task where they were exposed to both social and neutral-cued words, and recalled the first memory that came to mind. Memories were coded for specificity, affective tone, response latency, and emotional intensity. Afterwards, adolescents were also presented with a word recall task. In addition, shyness and socially anxious behaviors were observed as adolescents participated in a self-presentation speech task with an unfamiliar peer. Behavioral inhibition at age two was found to predict higher levels of observed anxious behaviors (self-presentation anxiety) during the peer interaction. This relation appears to be mediated by a pattern of blunted affect in response to socially-cued autobiographical memories. While the relation between temperament ratings of early behavioral inhibition and the blunted memory affect was content-specific to social-cued words, current self-presentation anxiety during the peer interaction was related to a more generalized bias that was not content-specific. In addition to the blunted memory affect, adolescent self-presentation anxiety was associated with less affective interpretations on the story task, poorer word recall, slowed response times, decreased emotional intensity.


Temperament; Social Development; Autobiographical Memory