Shyness pp 329-342 | Cite as

Self-Perception Theory and the Treatment of Shyness

  • Frances M. Haemmerlie
  • Robert L. Montgomery
Part of the Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy book series (EPPS)


For many people, the feeling of uncertainty, apprehension, and awkwardness in interpersonal situations is a common problem. Surveys indicate that at least 90% of Americans report feeling shy occasionally; and 50% indicate that shyness sometimes constitutes a significant problem for them (Zimbardo, 1977). Although a variety of theoretical approaches have been employed to date to help individuals overcome this problem, (Curran, 1977; Leary, 1983), Bem’s (1972), selfperception theory, a potentially important perspective, has received little attention. In fact, except for an earlier review paper by Kopel and Arkowitz (1975) and a series of studies (Haemmerlie, 1983; Haemmerlie and Montgomery, 1982; Haemmerlie and Montgomery, in press) by the present authors, this approach has received hardly any attention at all in the therapy or treatment literature.


Social Skill Social Anxiety Cognitive Dissonance Irrational Belief Social Skill Training 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Arkowitz, H. (1977). Measurement and mofidication of minimal dating behavior, In M. Hersen, R. M. Eisler, and P. M. Miller (Eds.), Progress in behavior modification (Vol. 5, pp. 1–62 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  2. Arkowitz, H., Hinton, R., Perl, J., and Himadi, W. (1978). Treatment strategies for dating anxiety in college men based on real-life practice. The Counseling Psychologist, 7, 41–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asch, S. E. (1952). Social Psychology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a Unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84, 191–215.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bern, D. J. (1967). Self-perception: An alternative interpretation of cognitive dissonance phenomena. Psychological Review, 74, 183–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bem, D. J. (1972). Self-perception theory. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 6, pp. 183–200 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Bem, D. J., and McConnell, H. K. (1970). Testing the self-perception explanation of dissonance phenomena: On the salience of premanipulation attitudes. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 14, 23–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Boulougouris, J. C., and Marks, I. M. (1969). Implosion (flooding): A new treatment for phobias. British Medical Journal, 2, 721–723.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Boyd, T. L., and Levis, D. J. (1983). Exposure is a necessary condition for fear-reduction: A reply to de Silva and Rachman. Behavior Research and Therapy, 21, 145–150.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Christiansen, A., and Arkowtiz, H. (1974). Preliminary report on practice dating and feedback as a treatment for college dating problems. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 21, 92–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Christiansen, A., Arkowitz, H., and Anderson, J. (1975). Practice dating as a treatment for college dating inhibitions. Behavior Research and Therapy, 13, 321–331.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Curran, J. P. (1977). Skills training as an approach to the treatment of heterosexual-social anxiety. Psychological Bulletin, 84, 140–157.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Curran, J. P. (1979). Social skills: Methodological issues and future directions. In A. S. Bellack and M. Hersen (Eds.), Research and practice in social skills training (pp. 319–354 ). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  14. Davison, G. C., and Wilson, G. T. (1972). Critique of “Densensitization: Social and cognitive factors underlying the effectiveness of Wolpé s procedure.” Psychology Bulletin, 78, 28–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Emmelkamp, P. M. G., and Wessels, H. (1975). Flooding in imagination vs. flooding in vivo: A comparison with agoraphobics. Behavior Research and Therapy, 13, 7–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fazio, R. H., and Zanna, M. P. (1981). Direct experience and attitude-behavior consistency. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.), Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 13, pp. 161–202 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  17. Fazio, R. H., Effrein, E. E.,and Falender, V. J. (1981). Self-perception following social interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 232–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Festinger, L. A theory of cognitive dissonance. (1957). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Finch, B. E., and Wallace, C. J. (1977). Successful interpersonal skills training with schizophrenic inpatients. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 45, 855–890.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Galassi, J. P., and Galassi, M. D. (1979). Modification of heterosocial skills deficits. In A. S. Bellack and M. Hersen (Eds.), Research and practice in social skills training (pp. 131–138 ). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  21. Glass, C. R., Gottman, J. M., and Shmurak, S. (1976). Response acquisition and cognitive self-statement modification approaches to dating-skills training. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 23, 520–526.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Haemmerlie, F. M. (1983). Heterosocial anxiety in college females: A biased interactions treatment. Behavior Modification, 7, 611–623.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Haemmerlie, F. M., and Montgomery, R. L. (1982). Self-perception theory and unobtrusively biased interactions: A treatment for heterosocial anxiety. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 29, 362–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Haemmerlie, R. M., and Montgomery, R. L. (1984). Purposefully biased interactions: Reducing heterosocial anxiety through self-perception theory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 47, 900–908.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Harvey, J. H., and Weary, G. (1981). Perspectives on attributional processes. Dubuque, IA: William C. Brown.Google Scholar
  26. Heider, F. (1958). The psychology of interpersonal relations. New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jennings, D. L., Lepper, M. R., and Ross, L. (1981). Persistence of impressions of personal persuasiveness: Perseverance of erroneous self-assessments outside the debriefing paradigm. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 7, 257–263.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jones, W. H., Hobbs, S. A., and Hockenbury, D. (1982). Loneliness and social skills deficits. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 42, 682–689.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kandel, H. J., Ayllon, T., and Rosenbaum, M. S. (1977). Flooding or systematic exposure in the treatment of extreme social withdrawal in children. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 8, 75–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Kopel, S., and Arkowitz, H. (1975). The role of attribution and self-perception in behavior change: Implications for behavior therapy. Genetic Psychology Monographs, 92, 175–212.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Kramer, S. R. (1975). Effectiveness of behavior rehearsal and practice dating to increase heterosexual social interaction. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas, Dissertation Abstracts International, 36, 913B–914B. (University Microfilms No. 75–16, 693 ).Google Scholar
  32. Leary, M. R. (1983). Understanding social anxiety: Social, personality, and clinical perspectives. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  33. Lord, C. G., Ross, L., and Lepper, M. R. (1979). Biased assimilation and attitude polarization: The effects of prior theories on subsequently considered evidence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37, 2098–2109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Malleson, N. (1959). Panic and phobia. Lancet, 1, 225–227.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Martinson, W. D., and Zerface, J. P. (1970). Comparison of individual counseling and a social program with nondaters. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 17, 36–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Mavissakalian, M. and Michelson, L. (1983). Self-directed in vivo exposure in behavioral and pharmacological treatments of agoraphobia. Behavior Therapy, 14, 506–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Meichenbaum, D. H. (1977). Cognitive behavior modification. New York: Plenum Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meyer, V., Robertson, J., and Tatlow, A. (1975). Home treatment of an obsessive-compulsive disorder by response prevention. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 6, 37–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nisbett, R. E., and Ross, L. (1980). Human Inference: Strategies and shortcomings of social judgment. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  40. Nisbett, R. E., and Wilson, T. D. (1977). Telling more than we know: Verbal reports on the mental process. Psychological Review, 84, 231–259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Oden, S., and Asher, S. R. (1977). Coaching children in social skills for friendship making. Child Development, 48, 495–506.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Pollis, N. P., and Montgomery, R. L. (1966). Conformity and resistance to compliance. Journal of Psychology, 63, 35–41.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Rehm, L. P., and Marston, A. R. (1968). Reduction of social anxiety through modification of self-reinforcement. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 32, 565–574.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ross, L., Lepper, M. R., and Hubbard, M. (1975). Perseverance in self-perception and social perception: Biased attributional processes in the debriefing paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 880–892.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schwitzgebel, R. L., and Schwitzgebel, R. K. (1980). Law and Psychological practice. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  46. Shaw, M. E., and Costanzo, P. R. (1972). Theories of social psychology. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  47. Sherif, M. (1935). A study of some social factors in perception. Archives of Psychology, 27 (187).Google Scholar
  48. Snyder, M., and Swann, W. B. (1978). Behavioral confirmation in social interaction. From social perception to social reality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 14, 148–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Solomon, R. L., Kamin, L. J., and Wynn, L. C. (1953). Traumatic avoidance learning: The outcomes of several extinction procedures with dogs. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 48, 291–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Spielberger, C. D., Gorsuch, R. L., and Lushene, R. E. (1970). The State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) test manual for Form X. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.Google Scholar
  51. Twentyman, C. T. and Zimering, R. T. (1979). Behavioral training of social skills: A critical review. In M. Hersen, R. M. Eisler, and P. M. Miller (Eds.), Progress in behavior modification (Vol. 7 ). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  52. Watson, D. and Friend, R. (1969). Measurement of social-evaluative anxiety. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 33, 448–457.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wilder, D. A. (1978). Perceiving persons as a group: Effects on attributions of causality and beliefs. Social Psychology, 41, 13–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zimbardo, P. G. (1977). Shyness: What it is and what to do about it. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances M. Haemmerlie
    • 1
  • Robert L. Montgomery
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Missouri at RollaRollaUSA

Personalised recommendations