Resting respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA) and shyness were examined as predictors of effortful control (EC) in a sample of 101 preschool-age children. Resting RSA was calculated from respiration and heart rate data collected during a neutral film; shyness was measured using parents', preschool teachers', and classroom observers' reports; and EC was measured using four laboratory tasks in addition to questionnaire measures. Principal components analysis was used to create composite measures of EC and shyness. The relation between RSA and EC was moderated by shyness, such that RSA was positively related to EC only for children high in shyness. This interaction suggests that emotional reactivity affects the degree to which RSA can be considered a correlate of EC. This study also draws attention to the need to consider the measurement context when assessing resting psychophysiology measures; shy individuals may not exhibit true baseline RSA responding in an unfamiliar laboratory setting.
- Effortful control
- Executive function
- Respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA)
- Vagal tone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology