This study tested predictions of the self-presentational approach to situational and dispositional shyness within a broader perspective. Forty subjects who were high in self-rated dispositional shyness and 30 subjects who were low in self-rated dispositional shyness watched videotapes of their interaction with a confederate of the experimenter in various situations, including apprehension of evaluation and positive feedback provided by the confederate. The subjects' free verbal responses to particular events during these situations were content-analyzed. Compared with the group lower in shyness, the shy subjects (a) recalled more fear of social evaluation (including fear of positive evaluation) but did not more often report other kinds of fear, (b) had more negatively biased thoughts about the impression made on their partner but not more impression-related thoughts in general, and (c) showed more negatively biased reactions to the positive feedback of their partner. These results support the self-presentational view that fear of being socially evaluated is pivotal to dispositional shyness. However, some unexpected findings suggest that social evaluative situations also arouse fears of having to evaluate others; this would limit self-presentational explanations of situational shyness in these situations.
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