Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Mark F. Stasson


Research finds high-shy persons participate minimally in interactions, withhold ideas from their groups, and negatively evaluate their performance. While commonly true, high-shy persons do not always interact less and it has been suggested (Efran & Korn, 1969) that high-shy persons may dominate a discussion if they can find a "safe" topic. The current study examined whether perceptions of perceived competence can produce this effect and increase the performance level of high-shy persons in a problem-solving group above the performance level of low-shy persons.

One hundred and four women, ages 18 to 24, at Virginia Commonwealth University participated. Subjects completed a shyness measure and a simulated creative problem-solving ability measure. Subjects were then placed into nominal brainstorming groups of three to six persons and were asked to generate solutions to a problem. They were led to believe their solutions would be evaluated by their group in preparation for a discussion where the group would select the best solution. Before beginning, subjects were told creative problem-solving ability predicted their performance and that their ability was either significantly below average (low self-competence condition), average (average self-competence condition), or significantly above average (high self-competence condition). After brainstorming, subjects selected their best solution and made a brief tape recording describing their solution. Subjects were told the tape would be played for the group prior to the discussion (neither occurred).


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