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Behavioral, cognitive, motivational, and physiological aspects of shyness in a disclosure reciprocity paradigm Meleshko, Kenneth George Andrew


The present study examined behavioral, cognitive, motivational, and physiological differences between shy and non-shy female subjects involved in a social encounter with a same-sex confederate. The encounter took the form of a structured dyadic interaction within a traditional disclosure reciprocity paradigm. The results showed that the shy subjects spoke for shorter periods of time and maintained a characteristically middle level of intimacy, regardless of what had been disclosed to them first. Thus, they overdisclosed to the low intimacy confederate and underdisclosed to the high intimacy one as compared to the non-shy subjects. The shy subjects were more negative about themselves and expected their partners to also be more negative about them. Both shy and non-shy subjects, however, were equally positive about their partners. The shy subjects also reported higher levels of physiological arousal, and indicated that they used a protective style of self-presentation as compared to the acquisitive style used by the non-shy subjects. The confederate and observer ratings of the subjects presented somewhat different patterns of results, differences which were interpreted within the larger framework of the study. Taken together, the results suggest that a complex relationship between behavioral, cognitive, motivational, and physiological factors may exist which contributes to the interpersonal difficulties of the shy individual.

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