The contribution of adults' nonverbal cues and children's shyness to the development of rapport between adults and preschool children

Ken J. Rotenberg, Nancy Eisenberg, Christine Cumming, Ashlee Smith, Mike Singh, Elizabeth Terlicher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations


In the study, 63 American preschool children (mean age 4 years, 8 months) were approached and read stories by adult testers who displayed high versus low frequencies of smiling and gaze. After being read to, the testers elicited self-disclosure from the children and later the children rated the trustworthiness and likeability of the tester (rapport measures). As additional measures of rapport, the children's smiling, gaze, and lack of nervousness in the interactions were observed. The results indicated that the development of rapport with children was greater when the adult tester displayed high rather than low frequencies of smiling but not gaze. Children's shyness also contributed to the development of rapport. Shyness was negatively associated with rapport perceptions/behaviours and, in the case of attributed trustworthiness, moderated the effects of adults' gaze.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-30
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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