International Handbook of Social Anxiety: Concepts, Research, and Interventions Relating to the Self and Shyness

By W. Ray Crozier; Lynn E. Alden | Go to book overview

Chapter 13
Shyness and Embarrassment
Compared: Siblings in the
Service of Social Evaluation

Rowland S. Miller

COMPARING EMBARRASSMENT AND SHYNESS

Antecedents

Phenomenology

Physiology

Nonverbal Behavior

Development

Individual Differences

Interactive Effects

SIMILARITIES OF THE STATES

CONCLUSIONS

REFERENCES

Almost anyone reading this chapter has been embarrassed (Miller, 1992,1996), and most of us have been shy (Carducci, 1999). Indeed, the prevalence of embarrassment and shyness in human social life suggests that central aspects of our dealings with others may be involved in the two states. In fact, embarrassment and shyness may share the same origins, at least in part. Both of them may emerge from the same primal social motive: arguably, neither embarrassment nor self-conscious shyness would exist if people did not care what others thought of them.

On the other hand, one of the two states may generally be adaptive whereas the other is detrimental, and one may be a short-lived emotion whereas the other is a longer-lasting mood. Thus, although they are close relations with much in

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