Behavioural Science Blog

The Science of Human Behaviour

Behavioral Assessment of Social Anxiety in the Free Speech Task

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The current study aimed to improve understanding of the behavioral indicators of social anxiety in the Free Speech Task. Building on the current theoretical knowledge about social anxiety, we developed a rating system to maximize the sensitivity of the behavioral anxiety assessment in the Free Speech Task. Participants with social anxiety and a control group were asked to give a free speech about their study for two minutes. A general measurement of anxiety and different specific behavioral indicators of anxiety were assessed. The scores were rated on interrater reliability and the behavioral strategies for socially anxious and nonanxious participants were compared. The rating of general anxiety did not differ between the anxious and the nonanxious group, only one specific measurement (fumbling/selfmanipulation) did differ significantly between these two groups. These results indicate that socially anxious and nonanxious individuals differ in their internal physical behavior. This finding might have implications for the behavioral assessment of social anxiety.

Read the full article: Behavioural Assessment of Social Anxiety

Written by Martin Metzmacher

December 14, 2008 at 1:00 pm

One Response

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  1. Dr Eddy Kloprogge from wrote:

    I also read your article on Behavioral Assessment of Social Anxiety in the Free Speech Task.
    I wonder if you have had any thoughts on repeating these experiments with people who live or have lived with an Alcohol Dependency. As this group suffer from extreme forms of social anxiety.
    Kind regards
    Eddy Kloprogge

    Well…sounds interesting to me!! I am wondering – why do you think this is such a specially interesting group?

    It would also be interesting to see what happens if you include males into the study…

    Martin Metzmacher

    February 26, 2009 at 12:23 pm

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