The social psychologist Philip O. Zimbardo has given the Stanford Shyness Survey to more than 5,000 persons worldwide. His results suggest, as indicated above, that shyness is a common problem. Approximately 80 percent of his subjects said that they experienced shyness some of the time. About 25 percent reported that they were shy in almost all social situations.
The common experience of being shy in a few social situations is called situational shyness and is not considered to be a behavioral problem. Feeling shy in almost all situations is called chronic shyness, and it is, of course, a problem. This kind of shyness can also be called dispositional shyness because it is a personality trait. The two terms can be used interchangeably with little or no loss of meaning.
It is possible to extend the trait of shyness into a more abnormal realm. Pathological shyness is the kind of shyness exhibited by a person who becomes very withdrawn from others and avoids all unnecessary contact with other persons. Also, the term social introversion is sometimes used to label the tendency to move away from people and into one’s own private psychological world.
The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), a personality test widely used in psychiatry and clinical psychology to measure pathological traits, has on it a set of clinical scales, scales of measurement that report the degree of disturbance an individual has in given personality areas. One of these scales is a measure of social introversion. A high level of social introversion suggests that an individual suffers from either chronic or pathological shyness.
This is a brief intro to the subject. I wasn't aware that there was so much involved in defining shyness! Nor that there were so many forms of the condition. Tomorrow we'll talk about chronic shyness.
Have a great day folks!