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Strangers in a Strange LabHow Personality Shapes Our Initial Encounters with Others$
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William Ickes

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195372953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372953.001.0001

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Shyness and Self-Consciousness

Shyness and Self-Consciousness

Chapter:
(p.142) 9 Shyness and Self-Consciousness
Source:
Strangers in a Strange Lab
Author(s):

William Ickes

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195372953.003.0009

Shyness (also known as social anxiety) is not the same thing as self-consciousness. Shyness is an anxiety disorder that is specific to social situations. The aspect of self-consciousness known as public self-consciousness appears to be a component of shyness, along with low self-esteem. This chapter presents a “vicious circle” model of shyness in which the social anxiety one experiences before a social encounter triggers negative thoughts and feelings that undermine one's ability to perform adequately during the social encounter, which in turn strengthens one's original negative beliefs after the encounter has ended. The results of many studies that are consistent with this model are reviewed. Surprisingly, perhaps, shyness is contagious: the partner of a shy individual comes to display similar thoughts, feelings, and behavior as the shy person does during an initial dyadic interaction.

Keywords:   shyness, social anxiety, self-consciousness, self-esteem, vicious circle model, shyness as contagious

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