A Cross-Cultural Examination of Explicit and Implicit Attitudes toward Shyness in Canada and Mainland China

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Xiao, Bowen




The aim of this doctoral dissertation was to explore explicit and implicit attitudes toward shyness among University students in Canada and mainland China. Study 1 explored differences in normative beliefs about shyness between samples of Canadian and Chinese students. Participant were N = 1417 undergraduate students from Shanghai, People Republic of China (N =850, Mage=18.83 years, SD = .92) and Ontario, Canada (N= 567, Mage=19.7 years, SD = 2.14). Participants were completed assessments of normal belief about shyness and their own personality. Results from Study 1 indicated that, contrary to predictions, shyness was viewed more negatively in China as compared to Canada. As well, shy behaviours were viewed as more acceptable among participants who rated themselves as more shy. The goal of Study 2 and Study 3 was to further explore Canadian students' implicit attitudes about shyness. Undergraduate students (Study 1: N = 66, Mage= 20.05 years, SD = 4.025; Study 2: N = 650, Mage= 19.93 years, SD = 4.327) completed a newly developed Implicit Association Test (both in lab and online) related to shyness, as well as questionnaires about their own shyness and explicit beliefs about shyness. Consistent across both studies, results suggested that emerging adults automatically associated shyness with negative words, but participants who were more shy tended to have less negative implicit attitudes about shyness. The purpose of Study 4 was to investigate implicit attitudes toward shyness in China. Participants were undergraduate students (N = 290, Mage= 20.3 years, SD = 1.97) from Shanghai who completed a newly developed Chinese version of the Implicit Association Test (IAT) (online) related to shyness, as well as questionnaires of their own shyness explicit beliefs about shyness. Results showed that Chinese emerging adults automatically associated shyness with negative words as well. Results are discussed in terms of the implications of university students' attitude toward shyness in both cultures. Limitation and future directions are also discussed.


Psychology - Developmental
Psychology - Personality
Psychology - Social




Carleton University

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