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The effects of targets’ shyness on perceptions of their intelligence Morgan , Kathy L.


The effects of a target's shyness on others' perceptions of his/her intelligence were investigated. Subjects met weekly for 7 weeks in discussions groups of 4 or 5 members. Subjects rated all group members, including self, on intelligence, creativity, and wisdom (collectly "mental abilities"). Despite no actual relation between measured IQ and shyness, shy subjects were judged both by themselves and by peers to be lower in mental abilities. This relation was stronger for the state shyness measure (i.e. self-rating of shyness in the group context) than for the dispositional measure of shyness. Thus the specific behavior of the target in the group appeared to determine the evaluation of ability. Quantity of participation in the group discussion appeared to be the primary link between shyness and perceived intelligence, for both self and peer ratings. It is also possible that shy subjects' negative affect in the social situation prevented them from performing at their intellectual capacity and thus lower ratings could be an accurate reflection of performance in the specific situation. Self presentation strategies are another possible explanation.

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