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Shyness refers to anxiety, discomfort or inhibition experienced within the context of social settings or interpersonal interactions. Researcher Phillip Zimbardo (1977) estimated that 40% of Americans are shy, and has suggested that a large percentage (80%) of the population has experienced some form of shyness at some point in their lives. In most cases, shyness may reflect a normal emotional response elicited by a particular circumstance or situation. However, for some individuals shyness is characterized as an enduring trait in which anxiety and discomfort are experienced consistently across a wide variety of social settings and interpersonal interactions.

Arnold Buss (1986) developed an influential theory in which he describes two types of shyness: a fearful shyness, which develops around the age of seven months, and a self-conscious ...

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