Invited Symposium: Development of Social Phobia


Development of Subtypes of Shyness


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Development of Subtypes of Shyness

Cheek, J. M. (Department of Psychology, Wellesley College, USA)

Contact Person: Jonathan M. Cheek (jcheek@wellesley.edu)


Behavioral genetic research indicates that heredity influences individual differences in shyness to a substantial degree. Even though the roots of shyness go back to temperament and experiences in early childhood, it appears that the behavioral consequences of shyness in adolescence and adulthood are mediated and maintained by maladaptive cognitive processes. In Gardner Murphy's terminology, the organic trait of shyness has become elaborated into a symbolic trait. This means that shy people's thoughts about their somatic anxiety symptoms and degree of social skill may be more consequential than their objectively assessed levels of tension and awkwardness. In addition, of the approximately 40% of adults who label themselves as being shy, only about 40% report that they were shy in early childhood, which is consistent with Kagan's estimate that about 15% of infants belong to the temperamental category of behavioral inhibition. Therefore, one key developmental distinction is the differentiation of early versus later developing subtypes of shyness. Shy adolescents and adults also differ in their interpersonal orientations, with some being more withdrawn and others being more dependent. In this presentation, I summarize developmental stages of shyness and present a new method for classifying withdrawn and dependent subtypes of shyness.

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Presentation Number SAcheek0760
Keywords: shyness

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Cheek, J. M.; (1998). Development of Subtypes of Shyness. Presented at INABIS '98 - 5th Internet World Congress on Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University, Canada, Dec 7-16th. Invited Symposium. Available at URL http://www.mcmaster.ca/inabis98/ameringen/cheek0760/index.html
© 1998 Author(s) Hold Copyright