A cross-cultural study of behavioral inhibition in toddlers: East–West–North–South

Alida Lo Coco, Carla Zappulla, Ock-Boon Chung, Liyin Cui, Liyin Cui, Chong-Hee Yoon, Ling Sun, Ling Sun, Liyin Cui, Ann Sanson, Paul Hastings, Kenneth H. Rubin, Sung-Yun Park, Hyun Sim Doh, Huichang Chen, Xinyin Chen, Sheryl A. Hemphill

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69 Citations (Scopus)


The prevalence of behavioral inhibition in toddlers was examined in five cultures. Participants in this study included 110 Australian, 108 Canadian, 151 Chinese, 104 Italian, and 113 South Korean toddlers and their mothers who were observed during a structured observational laboratory session. Matched procedures were used in each country, with children encountering an unfamiliar strangerwith a truck and a robot. Indicators of inhibition included the length of time toddlers delayed before approaching the stranger and the duration of contact with their mother while the stranger was in the room. Results were generally consistent with expectations and showed differences between eastern and western cultures; Italian and Australian toddlers were less inhibited than toddlers from the othercountries, whereas Chinese and South Korean toddlers were more inhibited. The implications ofthese findings are discussed and a research agenda for further exploration of inhibition is outlined.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-226
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Publication statusPublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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