Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

2020 Edition
| Editors: Virgil Zeigler-Hill, Todd K. Shackelford

Shyness and Sociability

  • Alva TangEmail author
  • Louis A. Schmidt
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-24612-3_2119



Shyness and sociability are conceptualized as distinct social-motivational-behavioral tendencies (Asendorpf 1990; Cheek and Buss 1981). Shyness is defined as social withdrawal-related tendencies in social situations reflected by active avoidance and an anxious preoccupation with the self in response to real or imagined social interactions. In contrast, sociability is defined as social approach tendencies or a preference to be with others rather than being alone.


Shyness and sociability are not only conceptually independent personality traits, but they are also empirically orthogonal. Shyness and sociability are linked to distinct behavioral and psychophysiological correlates observed across humans and nonhuman animals, which indicate deep roots of these two personality dimensions in our evolutionary history. In humans, the independence of shyness and sociability has been replicated across development...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Neuroscience and BehaviorMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Anna Czarna
    • 1
  1. 1.Jagiellonian UniversityKrakowPoland