Shyness pp 133-145 | Cite as

Individual Differences in Shyness

  • W. Ray Crozier
Part of the Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy book series (EPPS)


A curious aspect of shyness has been the “shyness” of the construct itself in psychology. Until very recently the term has rarely appeared in textbooks of personality, the self-concept, or social psychology, and indeed this volume presents the first collection of papers on the subject. This might be thought to be curious for a number of reasons, not least of which is the apparently widespread occurrence of shyness, for example the high proportion of respondents in many countries who described themselves as shy in the Stanford surveys (Zimbardo, 1977). For a large number of these subjects, shyness is a salient part of their social lives and a source of unhappiness, yet psychologists who have put considerable research effort into the study of interpersonal difficulties have neglected to incorporate this construct into their approach. Some further evidence for the salience of shyness is provided by Forgas (1976) who adopted a multidimensional scaling approach to judgments about everyday social situations and identified self-confidence in knowing how to behave as one of the principal dimensions underlying such judgments. Despite such findings the psychological study of social encounters has not yet paid sufficient attention to people’s perceptions of, and confidence in, their social competence. It is not that shyness has only recently been identified or discussed by psychologists; for example, Lewinsky (1941) drew on clinical material to provide a description of shyness that matches quite closely the characteristics that are being fully discussed in this volume, and she indicates some problems that still preoccupy contemporary researchers.


Social Anxiety Social Competence Social Encounter Factor Analytical Study Eysenck Personality Inventory 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Ray Crozier
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyLancashire PolytechnicPrestonEngland

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