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The development of children's understanding of social anxiety in others

Material Information

Title:
The development of children's understanding of social anxiety in others
Creator:
Darby, Bruce Warren, 1952- ( Dissertant )
Schlenker, Barry B. ( Thesis advisor )
Severy, Lawrence J. ( Reviewer )
Shaw, Marvin E. ( Reviewer )
Miller, Patricia ( Reviewer )
Algina, James ( Reviewer )
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
Publisher:
University of Florida
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
1983
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Anxiety ( jstor )
Child development ( jstor )
Child psychology ( jstor )
Childhood ( jstor )
Cognitive psychology ( jstor )
Friendship ( jstor )
Motivation ( jstor )
Social behavior ( jstor )
Social interaction ( jstor )
Social psychology ( jstor )
Anxiety -- Social aspects
Child development
Dissertations, Academic -- Psychology -- UF
Psychology thesis, Ph.D.
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract:
A model of social anxiety was used to assess the development of children's understanding of social anxiety in others. The model proposes that actors who are highly motivated to impress another but doubt their chances for successfully doing so experience the aversive state of social anxiety. Theories and research on social cognitive development were used to hypothesize that older rather than younger children would more readily recognize the effects of these antecedent conditions. Also, it was predicted that older children more than younger children would demonstrate a more thorough understanding of the affective and behavioral components of social anxiety. A study was conducted in which second, fourth, and seventh grade children were presented stories depicting actors in two situations: making a friend or acting in a play. Within each situation the actor was portrayed as either highly motivated or less motivated to impress an audience and either with high or low expectations of success. Subjects rated actors in these conditions as to how anxious the actors felt, what kinds of behaviors the actors may perform, and on general evaluative dimensions. Consistent support was found for the model in showing highly motivated and less able actors rated as being very socially anxious. Also, results supported the general hypothesis that older children judged actors in social anxiety settings in ways consistent with the model. Support was qualified, however, by a number of findings suggesting overall pessimism of older children, regardless of the actor's particular condition. Evidence was obtained which indicated older children's more sophisticated understanding of the possible divergence in self-presentation situations between what one feels and how one behaves.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1983.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (152-163).
General Note:
Vita
General Note:
Typescript.

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University of Florida
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University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
ACN0724 ( ltuf )
11557209 ( oclc )
0030454384 ( ALEPH )

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Full Text
THE DEVELOPHENT OF CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING OF SOCIAL
ANXIETY IN OTHERS
BY
BROCE NARREN DARBY
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE ONIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN
PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
I wish to thank all those whose assistance nade this
pro-feet possible. First, I would like to thank Dr. Barry
Schlenker, committee chairman, whose intellectual power,
patience, and friendship were indispensable. Also, I would
like to thank the special support of my ether committee
members: Drs. Larry Severy, Marvin Shaw, Patricia Hiller,
and James Alqina. In addition, I would like to thank the
experimenters who helped gather the data: Bonnie Hicks,
Carl Dahlstrom, Lisa Slotoroff, Tammy Maurno, Suzanne Savin,
Marcia eider, Leslye Henenfeld, and Dalia Stein. Very
special thanks qo to Terry LaDue, whose expertise in
technical matters is unsurpassed and delightful.
I would most especially like to thank my parents, Homer
and Shirley Darby, for their unflagqinq support in all my
endeavors. Also, thanks qo to Dennis Swaney, Starr Silver,
Cindy Davis, and Howard Bavender who blew the bounds off
moral support, and a humble bow of gratitude for the love of
my friends, Karin, Jill, Louise, Dave, Gail, Terry, John,
Phil, Jerry, Dennis M., Mike, Tom, and Frank.
n


TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ii
ABSTRACT V
CHAPTER
I. INTBODOCT ION 1
The Self, Self-presentation, and Social Anxiety 3
Symbolic interactionis and the "self" in
social behavior ............ 3
Self-presentation and social anxiety .... 9
Behaviors and Social Anxiety .......27
Situations and Social Anxiety ...... 29
Summary ..... .........32
Social-cognitive Development ..33
Introduction ................33
Social-coqnitive abilities .........35
Children and self-presentation ....... 60
Anxiety and children ...... 68
Overview and hypotheses ............73
II. METHOD 77
Subjects ....................77
Procedure ...................78
III. RESULTS ........... ..... 86
Manipulation Checks ............ .87
Motivation Manipulation ...........87
Ability Manipulation ............90
Analysis of Questionnaire .....91
Measures of Anxiety .............91
Worry ..................91
Uneasiness ................95
Nervousness ...............96
Confidence .......... 100
Behavioral Measures .... 105
Evaluation of Actors 113
Shyness ................ 113
iii


Likinq ......... 114
Good/Bad# Happy/Sad, Stronq/Seak .... 115
Subjects* self-ratinqs .......... 118
Relationships Aaonq Measures ......... 119
IT. DISCUSSION 122
Overview ................... 122
Actors* Motivation and Ability ........ 125
Continqent versus Noncontinqent Interactions 132
The Effects of Grade ............. 134
Measures of Affect and Behavior and their
Relationship .............. 138
Summary 140
APPENDIX
A. PROTOCOLS AND VIGNETTES 143
B. NUMBER OF SUBJECTS PER CELL OF THE DESIGN .... 150
C. NUMBER OF SUBJECTS PER CELL ANSHERING THAT ACTORS 151
REFERENCES 152
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 164
IV


Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Deqree of Doctor of Philosophy
THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHILDREN'S UNDERSTANDING OF SOCIAL
ANXIETY IN OTHERS
By
Bruce Barren Darby
Auqust 1983
Chairman: Dr. Barry R. Schlenker
Ma-jor Department: Psycholoqy
A model of social anxiety vas used to assess the
development of children's understanding of social anxiety in
others. The model proposes that actors mho are hiqhly
motivated to impress another but doubt their chances for
successfully doing so experience the aversive state of
social anxiety. Theories and research on social cognitive
development were used to hypothesize that older rather than
younger children would more readily recoqnize the effects of
these antecedent conditions. Also, it was predicted that
older children more than younger children would demonstrate
a more thorough understanding of the affective and
behavioral components of social anxiety.
v


A study was conducted in which second, fourth, and
seventh grade children were presented stories depicting
actors in two situations: making a friend or acting in a
play. Hithin each situation the actor was portrayed as
either hiqhly motivated or less motivated to impress an
audience and either with high or low expectations of
success. Subjects rated actors in these conditions as to
how anxious the actors felt, what kinds of behaviors the
actors stay perform, and on general evaluative dimensions.
Consistent support was found for the model in showinq hiqhly
motivated and less able actors rated as beinq very socially
anxious. Also, results supported the qeneral hypothesis
that older children judged actors in social anxiety settinqs
in ways consistent with the model. Support was qualified,
however, by a number of findinqs suqqestinq overall
pessimism of older children, reqardless of the actor's
particular condition. Evidence was obtained which indicated
older children's more sophisticated understanding of the
possible divergence in self-presentation situations between
what one feels and how one behaves.
vi


CHAPTER I
I8TB0DDCTI0N
This research was designed to assess the nature and
development of childrens understanding of social anxiety in
others. Being anxious or nervous in the presence of others
is something everyone has experienced. The ways people
present themselves in social interaction affect their
outcomes in these settings: everyone wants to obtain a
desirable reaction from subjectively important audiences.
People who find themselves wanting to obtain a certain
audience evaluation but fear they might not succeed
experience the discomfort of social anxiety. This research
looks at how second, fourth, and seventh grade children
evaluated people portrayed in social anxiety situations.
How, for example, do younger versus cider children differ in
their understanding of a story characters motivation to
obtain a desired reaction from an audience and how the
character's motivation affects his or her feelings and
behavior? How do children of different ages understand the
ways people present themselves in social settings?
In order to answer these and other guesticns, theory and
research on social anxiety as a self-presentational concern
are used as a backdrop for assessing childrens
1


2
understanding of the phenomenon. There is very little
existinq research on how children recognize self-
presentational concerns in others, and the use of the self
presentation approach here will provide a clearer
understanding of how this recognition develops. In addition
to the social psychological perspective of the self
presentation approach, theories and research on social-
cognitive developaent are used to articulate the progression
of children's understanding of social behavior,
particularly, the development of children's knowledge of the
position of the self in social interaction.
Social anxiety is defined as anxiety resulting from the
prospect or presence of personal evaluation in real or
imaqined social situations" (Schlecker 6 Leary, 1982, p.
642). As such, the study of social anxiety is a useful tool
for investigating children's understanding of the relation
between the public and private worlds of the self, because
it represents one possible response to cominq into contact
with pressures from the social environment. Children's
knowledge of social scenarios that evoke concerns over self
referent behavior in interactions is presumed to develop
throughout childhood, concurrently with other social-
coqnitive skills, such as role-takinq, making social
inferences, solving interpersonal problems, and becoming
aware of the social nature of the self. It was expected
that younger children (second graders) would make less


3
articulate and consistent -judgments than older children
(fourth and seventh graders) about the variables affecting
social anxiety in story characters who are shown either with
or without concerns about the impressions they make on
others.
In the first of the following sections, social behavior
is discussed from the theoretical perspectives of symbolic
interactionism, social learning theory, script theory, and
self-presentation. Particular prominence is given to the
relationship between the self and the social environment
from these perspectives. In addition, specific definitions
and propositions of the self-presentation approach to the
study of social anxiety are covered, followed by a
discussion of relevant theories and research on social-
cognitive development. Finally, an overview is presented
including the specific hypotheses to be tested.
The Self, Self-presentation, and Social Anxiety
Symbolic interactionism and the 'self in social behavior
There are many approaches to studyinq social behavior.
It can be viewed, for example, as (1) the result of a
resolution of conflicts between inner wishes and outer
realities (Sulloway, 1979), (2) the result of operant
conditioning whereby humans respond to social cues with
behavior that has been successful in the past (Skinner,
1976), (3) the result of human evolution (Freedman, 1979;


4
Hoqan, in press; Wilson, 1975), (4) the result of self
reflection, expectation of outcome, and self-requlation
based on past reinforceaent continqencies (Bandura, 1977),
or (5) the result of one*s knowledqe about various social
situations and the invocation of social scripts or aeaninq
to quide social behavior (Abelson, 1976; Lanqer, 1978;
Meltzer, Petras, S Beynolds, 1975). There is probably no
possible or, at the very least, easy way to determine which
of these perspectives on social behavior is the most
comprehensive and valid; all seem useful up to a point.
However, because the focus of the current research is on the
position and influence of the self in social interaction,
the last two perspectives become particularly relevant.
Social learninq theory (for example, Bandura, 1977)
embraces the processes of both operant conditioninq and
introspection or self-reflection as determinants of social
behavior. The individual is neither driven solely by one
process nor the other, but rather a "continuous reciprocal
interaction of personal and environmental determinants"
occurs to influence behavior, "includinq symbolic,
vicarious, and self-requlatory processes" (Bandura, 1977,
pp. 11-12). The self is, in this perspective, an evaluator
of experience and a requlator of behavior, whose qoal is to
achieve self-efficacy and valued outcomes in social
behavior. Self-efficacy, accordinq to Bandura, is the
expectation that one can successfully perform behaviors


5
leadinq to valued outcomes (p. 79). In this sense,
Bandura*s conception of self is akin to James* (1890/1950)
notion of the self as primarily seeking positive self-
evaluations, evaluations arisinq from successful social
behaviors. This notion of self is also similar to Hoqan's
conceptualizations of the self as strivinq for positive
self-reqard through successfully achieving status and
popularity (Hogan, in press).
From the perspective of Banduras theory, the self is an
active builder of perceptions and evaluations of its ovn
experience. The consequences of past performance not only
affect the likelihood of future performance, but provide the
individual with information about the relationship between
certain behaviors and their consequences. Because one can
reflect on the reinforcement contingencies of past
experiences, one can requlate ones environment and behavior
so as to try to achieve valued and avoid nonvalued outcomes
in the future. By implication, one can in some cases seek
to requlate the impressions of ethers about oneself in order
to obtain the social approval, acknowledgment, and self
definition one desires (Hogan, in press; Schlenker, 1980, in
press-b).
From a different but related perspective, the self is
conceived as inseparable from the society of which it is a
part and by which it is produced. The symbolic
interactionist perspective assumes that peoples behavior in


6
any situation is the result of constructed meaninqs
associated with that situation, meaninqs that are the
result of social experience and the object of people's
coqnitive interpretation (Meltzer, Petras, & Reynolds,
1975). The position of the self is central in this
perspective and closely related to Bandura's approach in
that every behavior is the result of reflection and socially
derived interpretations or meaninqs that cues in the current
situation call forth. These meaninqs are built around
knowledqe about the relationship between one's self as a
social actor and the perspectives of others as receivers and
evaluators of one's actions. Accordinq to Mead (1934), the
fundamental process of interaction is communication, i.e.,
the transmission and reception of siqnals and symbols that
convey culturally shared conceptions cf social reality
(Mead, 1934; Petras, 1968). In order to effectively
communicate, one must be aware of oneself as the object of
others* thouqhts. Mead traces the development of this
awareness throuqh a transition from an eqocentric **In
orientation to communication, to a Mme" orientation in which
one recoqnizes that others have different perspectives, and
one adopts these perspectives in tailorinq messaqes to
others (Mead, 1934) .
The communication process places the self in the pivotal
position of receivinq and interpretinq data observed or
inferred from the situation. Takinq the perspective of


7
others in interaction is necessary for effectively
estiuatinq the likelihood of successfully perforraiaq a
behavior and obtaininq the desired reward.
Mead's idea on the role of self as interpreter of
experience is closely related to the script approach of
Schank and Abelson (1977) and Lanqer (1978). Accordinq to
this approach, people qather information from their social
experiences and construct scripts which contain the
narratives of various types of social encounters. Scripts
are schemas (orqanized mental representations or cateqories
of objects or events) that specify a sequence of actions
related causally and temporally (Schank S Abelson, 1977;
Nelson, 1981). When people enter an interaction, they are
likely to look for cues that miqht refer them to an
appropriate script to invoke in the situation. The self is
the unit that selects, enqaqes, and performs the scripts
appropriate to the particular situation.
Script theory is relevant to present purposes, as is the
construction of social meaninqs throuqh role-takinq, because
both develop throuqhout childhood (Mead, 1934; Nelson,
1981). One qoal here is to assess the development of
children's knowledqe of the self in social settinqs. When
do children become aware of the processes of role-takinq in
others and script enactment by others in certain social
situations? When do they understand the interpersonal
factors involved in self-presentation situations?


8
One approach that combines and applies symbolic
interactionisa and an early form of "script theory" is the
draaaturqical approach of E. Goffaan (1955, 1959, 1967,
1971). Goffman's ideas center around the process,
structure, rules, and conventions that comprise social
behavior. His main focus is on the nature and function of
the rituals of social life as these facilitate and stabilize
social interaction (Goffman, 1959) It is called the
draaaturqical approach because of the analoqy made between
social behavior and theatrical performance. The central
concepts are "face" (somethinq presented to another that
reflects the actor's desire to have and maintain a
particular interaction) ; "performance" (any attempt to
influence another); "lines" (the rituals of communication
which convey both interactants* meaninqs and qoals in the
situation) ; and "fronts" (the settinqs manipulated to affect
interactions in desired ways) (Goffman, 1959).
For psycholoqists, the notion of face is particularly
relevant in providinq a position in which to put the self as
individuals interact with others. Face is not necessarily a
completely accurate reflection of someone*s inner self
(private beliefs and feelinqs), but rather a posture or
demeanor that enables one to interact smoothly with and
obtain desired rewards from others. This aspect of self, as
transient and situationally influenced, has since been
formalized in terms of imaqes of self that one projects in


9
social interaction (Gerqen, 1968; Schlenker, 1980; Turner,
1968) In addition, these imaqes and their relationship
with other aspects of the self-concept have become prominent
vantaqe points for viewinq the self and identity in social
behavior (Schlenker, in press-b), and more will be said of
this later.
It is reasonable to expect that understandinq the
variable relationship between external behavior and internal
self-conceptions develops throuqhout childhood. Children's
understandinq of this relationship with reqard to social
anxiety is a major focus of the current study. Couchinq the
development of this understandinq in terms of symbolic
interactionism, social learninq theory, script theory, and
the self-presentation approach serves to focus attention
directly on the position of self in social interactions.
This focus is central to the propositions of Schlenker and
Leary's (1982) model of social anxiety as a self-
presentational phenomenon and is discussed below.
Self-presentation and social anxiety
Anxiety in the presence of others is an experience with
which everyone can identify. When people foresee
interactinq with siqnificant others, they may feel
apprehensive and nervous about the encounter and experience
psycholoqical distress. In these situations, people may
manifest their distress throuqh psycholoqical or behavioral


10
maneuvers to somehow withdraw or dissociate themselves from
the situation in order to minimize the aversive nature of
the experience. What emerqes as a common element in this
experience is the fear of beinq the focus of another's
attention and evaluation. The individual is aware that his
or her behavior or demeanor in the presence of others will
affect the way he or she is reqarded by then, and the
individual is doubtful of beinq reqarded in the ways he or
she desires.
The existence of social anxiety as a distinct subset of
qeneral anxiety has been well-dccumented (Maqnusson S
Ekehammar, 1975; Miller, Barrett, Haape, & Noble, 1972;
Sarason, 1978; Strahan, 1974). In factor analytic studies
on the dimensions contained in anxiety and fear inventories
separate factors emerqe related to social as well as
nonsocial situations (e.q., Maqnusson & Ekehammar, 1975).
For example, Maqnusson and Ekehammar (1975) analyzed
people's ratinqs of the potentially fearful situations
contained in their Individual's Beactions to Situations
(IRS) inventory. The dimensions revealed in a factor
analysis of the responses included (1) threat of punishment
(e.q., the person has broken a social rule and is beinq
called to account), (2) eqo threat (e.q., the person is
confronted with an upcorainq social performanceqivinq a
speech startinq a new -job), (3) threat of pain (e.q., beinq
physically harmed), and (4) inanimate threat (e.q..
beinq


11
afraid of storms or the dark) (Maqnusson 6 Ekehamaar, 1975).
The threat of punishment and eqo threat indicate that
situations involvinq social interaction are conceptually
distinct from other anxiety-provokinq situations. The
threat of punishment implies the individual expects to or
has already behaved in an inappropriate way and is in the
predicament of mendinq the neqative evaluation made by
others. Eqo threat suqqests that the individual foresees or
is involved in social interaction where he or she is the
focus of the attentions and evaluations of ethers.
The experience of social anxiety has been the object of a
qrowinq body of research (see for example, Curran,
Wallander, & Fischetti, 1980; Hurt 6 Preiss, 1978; Leary,
1980; Schlenker & Leary, 1982; Ziatardo, 1977). The kinds
of social settinqs studied are varied and the anxiety
experience has been called many thinqs, for example, shyness
(Leary, 1980; Leary S Schlenker, 1981; Pilkonis, 1977;
Zimbardo, 1977), heterosexual social anxiety (Curran et al.,
1980), interaction and audience anxiety (Buss, 1980),
embarrassment (Buss, Iscoe, & Buss, 1979) and communication
apprehension (Hurt 6 Preiss, 1978). The common theme in
virtually all these investiqations is the endanqered
position of the self in social interaction. As such, the
experience of social anxiety is directly related to real or
iaaqined social pressures to behave in ways that will allow
the actor to obtain desired reactions from real or iaaqined


12
audiences. Due to the reliance of individuals on the regard
in which others hold them, the suqqestion has been made that
the essential ingredient of social behavior is the desire to
appear to others in ways that will achieve desired
evaluations from them (Goffman, 1959; Schlenker, 1980).
Althouqh all the above studies directly relate to the
position of the self, in social settings there are different
theoretical perspectives on the oriqins of social anxiety in
individuals and explanations of why and how it occurs.
There appear to be primarily three such perspectives
(Schlenker 6 Leary, 1982) relatinq to (1) skills deficits,
(2) cognitive self-evaluation, and (3) conditioned anxiety
reactions. According to the skills deficit perspective,
persons who suffer from social anxiety do so because they
lack required skills of interpersonal behavior (Arkowitz,
Hinton, Perl, S Himadi, 1978; Curran, 1975; Curran,
Wallander, S Fischetti, 1980).
With regard to interpersonal behavior generally, the
skills deficit perspective has received some support. In a
program designed to increase children's interpersonal
understanding and behavioral effectiveness, Spivack and
Snure (1976) presented scenarios of social situations to
children with social adjustment problems. They involved
children in these hypothetical situations, asking them how
they might feel and react as the actor and other story
characters. Getting children to generate alternative


13
behaviors and to recognize the actions and reactions of
actors in social settings was shown toincrease these
children's interpersonal skills. The deficits addressed by
Spivack and Shure seem to reflect an inability to consider
others' perspectives when in social settinqs, i.e., an
ineffective or underdeveloped sense of the interactive role
of the self in social situations.
Althouqh the skills deficit perspective is a reasonably
productive way to view social anxiety, it has been suqqested
that the primary mediating factor in ineffective social
behavior is not a lack of skills so much as an individual's
perceptions of lack of skills (Gcldfried £ Sobocinski, 1975;
Ranter S Goldfried, 1979; Rehm £ Harston, 1968). Research
has shown that people who score hiqhly on measures of social
anxiety are more likely than nonanxious people to hold
unrealistic and negative beliefs about themselves (Barrios £
Shiqetomi, 1979; Golfried £ Sobocinski, 1975) In addition,
people who hold neqative self-beliefs and low expectations
of social success demonstrate hiqher levels of anxiety when
imaqininq themselves in social situations. One successful
method of reducinq interpersonal anxiety in persons who
suffer it is the counseling method known as "rational
restructuring" in which the client is taught to
realistically reevaluate the types of situations that are so
anxiety-producing. This restructuring of the person's
perceptions of him or herself in relation to these


14
situations allows the person to achieve a heightened sense
of self-control (Kanter 6 Goldfried, 1979). These findinqs
not only give support to the connection between the self and
the possiblity of evaluation from others in producing
anxiety, but also the central role of the self-ccncept
(self-relevant images, beliefs, and feelings) in mediating
social behavior.
The conditioning approach to anxiety suqqests that all
types of anxiety, including social anxiety, are the result
of experiences associating certain objects and situations
with aversive consequences (Ax, 1953; Halmo, Boaq, 6 Smith,
1957). A past history of nonreward or punishment for
performing social behaviors (e.q., expressing one's opinion)
produces anxiety in an individual when he or she is
confronted with engaging in those social behaviors again.
The counseling technique of systematic desensitization is
built on a process of rewarding anxious persons for slowly
approachinq the fear-inducinq object or situation. This
technique has been shown to be very useful in workinq with
anxious people across a variety of situations, for example,
datinq and speakinq (Lanq, Sroufe, 6 Hastinqs, 1967; Paul,
1966). The relevance of the conditioned anxiety perspective
is the acknowledgment of the crucial role of rewarder or
nonrewarder played by others in the social environment on
the production of anxiety. However, because it does not
directly involve an individual's cognitions and perceptions


15
and the role these play in mediatinq social anxiety, this
perspective is somewhat limited.
Based on the three theoretical perspectives on social
anxiety, the position of the self in social anxiety is
somewhat unclear thouqh implied. The skills deficit
perspective quite riqhtly suqqests that lackinq
interpersonal skills can create anxiety, but does not deal
with the psycholoqical processes relatinq skills or a lack
of skills to dimensions of an individuales self-concept and
identity. For example, what does lackinq a skill mean in
terms of the individual's self-imaqe? Likewise, the
conditioned anxiety perspective places the experience in the
social domain, but does not seek to relate the experience to
the individual actor's role in the situation. The coqnitive
self-evaluation perspective does include the individual's
perceptions of him or herself in relation to others, but
does not show how these perceptions may be inteqrated with
and affect the person's identity and self-concept.
Recently, Schlenker and Leary (1982) have proposed a
model of social anxiety that directly involves aspects of
one's self in the process of the experience. Basic to the
experience is the realization that one is or will be the
focus of siqnificant others* attention and evaluation. The
process underlyinq the experience is that of self
presentation. The self-presentation approach comes out of
the tradition of symbolic interactionism and the notion of
the self as mediator in behavior.


16
Throuqh experience, people have expectations about the
structure and function of many types of interactions. From
the perspective of Goffaan (1959) the purpose of these
expectations and the culturally transmitted nature of all
interactions is to endorse and maintain a stable social
community. There are tacitly aqreed-upon forms and patterns
of interactions that arouse people to expect and enqaqe in
learned sets of behaviors. Interactions with aqreed-upon
form and pattern are the conventions, rituals and roles of
social life. Addinq to this map of social interaction,
psycholoqists (e.q., Jones 6 Schneider, 1968; Schlenker.
1980; Tedeschi, 1981) have emphasized the role of the self
as an active perceiver and mediator of behavior, an
expectinq, reflectinq, and feelinq aqent for processinq
self-relevant information, constructinq acceptable self
views, and projectinq into future situations. The view
emerqes of people as capable of self-requlation (Bandura,
1977) by readinq the narrative of their past and planninq
future scenarios.
Based on the idea that we are dependent on others for
approval, reward, status, and self-validation, the notion of
self-requlation has several important implications. It is
often in people's best interest to be evaluated positively
by siqnificant others. People may desire or feel obliqed to
control which aspects or information about themselves they
allow to become public kncwledqe. As a result, people can


17
control the evaluations others have of thea throuqh beinq
aware (consciously or unconsciously) of the position and
effect of the self in social interactions. Accordinq to the
self-presentation approach, people interactinq with others
convey information about theaselves by their demeanor,
behavior, and reactions to particular social settinqs.
Social anxiety arises when this communication of information
from self-to-other does net or is not likely to produce the
desired evaluation (Schlenker S leary, 1982). Because of
the comprehensiveness and utility of the Schlenker and Leary
model, it is summarized below and related to the qoals of
the current study.
Accordinq to the model, social anxiety is "anxiety
resultinq from the prospect or presence of interpersonal
evaluation in real or imaqined social settinqs" (Schlenker &
Leary, 1982, p. 642). The experience is viewed as a self-
presentational phenomenon, i.e., one in which an individual
makes a conscious or unconscious attempt to control self
relevant imaqes before real or imaqined audiences
(Schlenker, 1980). As such the role of the self in the
social settinq becomes critical as the individual feels that
he or she will in this case be unable to fulfill some self-
presentational qoal. Generally speakinq, the qoal is to be
reqarded in a desired way on some dimension relevant to
one's identity.1
1 In this case, identity "is a theory (or schema) that is
constructed about how one is and should be perceived.


18
When soaeone is motivated to be reqarded in a particular
way, either the audience is siqnificant to the person, the
identity-imaqe is important, or both. Such a person will
find the iaaqe successfully or unsuccessfully claimed based
on the reactions and evaluations of the audience. In
recoqnizinq this evaluative process, a person understands
the role of the self and others in social behavior. One
important task for someone enqaqinq in self-presentation is
to anticipate or qain knowledqe of what the audience is
thinking or likely to think about the actor. Understanding
the relationship of self vis-a-vis others in social settinqs
implies taking account of each actors viewpoint on the
other actor(s), the interaction goals, and constraints of
the situation.
According to Schlenker and Leary, "social anxiety arises
in real or imagined social settings when people are
motivated to make a particular impression on others, but
doubt that they will do so, having expectations of
reqarded and treated in social life" (Schlenker, in press-
a) Elements of ones identity include facts, beliefs,
feelinqs, and standards composing ones nature. The
images of one's identity that one projects in social
interaction reflect ones identity but may vary in the
sense that they may shift from situation to situation,
while not destroying the overall identity. For example,
one may define oneself as amiable generally, but recognize
situations in which stubbornness is necessary. Ones
identity and images can be viewed as guides for behavior,
representing scripts and roles played out in social
situations. Furthermore, one's identity and its imaqes
are an aspect of one's overall self-concept which includes
other, nonsocial aspects of experience (Epstein, 1973;
Schlenker, 1980) .


19
unsatisfactory impression-relevant reactions from others"
(Schlenker & Leary, 1982, p. 643). Implicit in this
proposition is the process of reflection or self-evaluation
by which the actor will assess the audience's reaction and
determine whether the self-presentational qcal has been or
will be successfully achieved. In the case of social
anxiety, actors must anticipate the likelihood that their
standard for success will be met. Given an actor who is
motivated to impress an audience, as the perceived
likelihood of success decreases, the maqnitude of the social
anxiety experience increases (Schlenker 6 Leary, 1982).
The factors of an actor's motivation to impress another
and his or her perceived ability to do sc are crucial
antecedents to the social anxiety experience (Schlenker 6
Leary, 1982). The motivation to convey a particular imaqe
to an audience increases as do the importance of the imaqe
to one's identity and the importance of the particular
audience. The importance of the imaqe can be a function of
its centrality or salience in relation to one's overall
identity and the worth or value of the outcomes associated
with claiminq the imaqe. The importance of the audience is
a function of its power to mediate the person's qoals in the
situation.
Insofar as motivation to impress others can set the staqe
for social anxiety, it has been shown that the type of
situation one expects can influence feelinqs of anxiety.


20
fear or shyness. For example, a first date carries qreat
evaluative implications and increases ones motivation to
impress the other, and it is a situation that most people
feel induces fear or shyness (Zimbardo, 1977). This "first
encounter" situation implies qreater concern for how one
will appear to others, perhaps in part because first
impressions are so highly related to later evaluations. An
upcominq test will presumably increase one's self-
presentational concerns more than an upcominq qame, because
of the qreater weiqht, for the most part of test performance
over qame performance. For example, children talk less when
confronted with a test versus qame (McCoy, 1965), and
decreased or interrupted communication has often been
associated with anxiety (Daly, 1978).
In addition to the motivational effects of the type and
importance of a particular situation, dimensions of the
audience can influence an actor's motivation. For example,
the size of the audience has been shown to lead to increased
nervousness, stutterinq, and less talking (Hurt 6 Preiss,
1978; Jackson 6 Latane, 1981; Levin, Baldwin, Gallway, 5
Paivio, 1960; Porter, 1939). Presumably, an increased focus
on the individual due to increasing numbers in an audience
raises concerns about how one will be regarded in the
situation (Buss, 1980; Feniqstein, 1979; Feniqstein,
Scheier, S Buss, 1975).


21
In any social setting there is bound to be at least some
degree of attention or awareness of one's self as the object
of other's impressions, at least in older children and
adults. This awareness of oneself as a social obiect is
central to the construct of public self-consciousness
(Feniqstein, 1979). People who are publicly self-conscious
are prone to feeling like they are beinq observed by others,
have a heightened sense of others* reactions to then, and
consider others as acting so as to directly affect them
(Feniqstein, 1979; Schlenker & Leary, 1982). Due to this
heightened self-attention, publicly self-conscious people
show "an increased concern with the presentation of self and
the reactions of others to that presentation" (Fenigstein,
1979, p. 76). This state of heightened self-attention can
be not only an individual trait, but also a state created by
elements of the situation. Induced self-attention is viewed
as being a state of "objective self-awareness," where one's
attention is momentarily focused inward due to environmental
factors (Duval & Wicklund, 1972). A typical induction of
objective self-awareness is to place experimental subjects
in front of a mirror, camera, or tape recorder, thereby
making the self salient. The induction of objective self-
awareness appears to increase individuals* attention to
themselves, to how they are beinq viewed by others, to
whether or not they are maintaining their own standards for
social behavior, and to the details of their behavior


22
(Deiner & Srull, 1979; Duval 6 Wicklund, 1972; Hull 6 Levy,
1979). Accordinq to Duval and Hicklund (1972), obiective
sell-awareness centers on self-evaluaticn in which the
objectively self-aware person will compare his or her
behavior with standards for conduct and enjoy satisfaction
or suffer dissatisfaction based on the results of the
comparison.
Increased attention to the self in social settings and
evaluations of self in relation to standards and hoped-for
performances seems to increase motivation to perform
satisfactorily. This increased motivation can set the staqe
for social anxiety. Self-focused attention as represented
by those hiqh on public self-consciousness {measured by the
Self-Consciousness Scale, Feniqstein, Scheier, & Buss, 1975)
has been shown to be significantly related to measures of
social anxiety (Schlenker S Leary, 1982). For example,
public self-consciousness is positively correlated with
measures of shyness {Cheek S Buss, 1981), interaction and
audience anxiousness (Leary, 1980), as well as with self-
reports of shyness (Pilkonis, 1977a). Hhat occurs in a
social anxiety situation inherently involves lookinq ahead
to or finding oneself in the position of beinq the object of
another's attention. It is reasonable to expect that the
idea of another's presence, attention, and impendinq
reaction to the actor enqages the actor in the sort of self-
evaluation process discussed by Duval and Wicklund (1972).


23
If, durinq this self-evaluation, the actor comes to doubt
his or her ability to behave in ways that aiqht successfully
produce a desired reaction, then social anxiety becomes a
reality.
People enqaqed in social interaction expect certain
outcomes, Althouqh one miqht not be consciously enqaqed in
assessinq interaction outcomeshow likely is one outcome as
opposed to another, how acceptable or unacceptable is
eachthere is inevitably some assessment of how one's
behavior fits with one's standards for the situation, In
terms of social anxiety, the assessment phase primarily
takes place prior to and durinq the interaction (Schlenker £
Leary, 1982). It is durinq this phase that a person with a
self-presentational qoal considers (1) what are the
necessary abilities or attributes fulfillment of the qoal
requires, (2) whether or not he or she possesses them and
(3) whether he or she will be able to convey them
successfully to the particular audience (Carver, 1979, p.
1266; Schlenker & Leary, 1982). To the deqree that the
actor doubts he or she will be able to behave in ways
commensurate with some personal or social standard held for
the behavior, he or she will experience social anxiety.
Perhaps the clearest case of low expectations of
successfully claiminq an imaqe is when one is not aware of
the appropriate behavior in the situation (Schlenker £
Leary, 1982). Research has shown that people report feelinq


24
aore fearful or anxious when confronted with a novel
situation (e.g., meeting someone new for the first time at a
new club) (Pilkonis, 1977b; Zimbardo, 1977). It has been
suggested that the social anxiety attendant to novel
situations reflects the absence of schemas or scripts
related to these situations (Schlenker 6 Leary, 1982). From
this perspective the importance of role-enactment for
individuals in social settings becomes clear, i.e., the
person without a script is "lost" and anxious about what to
do or how to do it in the same way an actor on stage may
feel without the lines and stage directions he or she is to
enact. In effect, the anxiety in these situations arises
from a sophisticated understanding of the position of self
in social settings, i.e., that ones social behavior is the
object of the attention and scrutiny of others. From the
perspective of symbolic interactionism, the person/actor has
acguired at least a general schema for social behavior,
although he or she lacks schema for certain specific social
situations.
Another factor contributing to low expectations of being
regarded by others in desired ways is the perceived lack of
ability to achieve the self-presentational goal. In this
case, people may be aware of what should be done to achieve
the particular audience reaction, but feel they do not
possess the requisite skills, attributes, or resources
(Schlenker & Leary, 1982, p. 650). For example, in order to


25
claim the image of intelligence, one must or should have or
produce evidence to support the claim, say, by referencing
one's academic achievements or by speaking in a
knowledgeable way on a broad number of topics. If one tries
to claim intelligence but realizes one might not have the
foundation to support the claim, then one runs the risk of
being found out," resulting in undesirable evaluations and
reactions from the particular audience. Most adults are
quite probably aware of this scenario of claiminq to be
somethinq one is not and beinq called to judqment for it.
The quandary is wishing to be reqarded in a certain way
(i.e., highly motivated to impress another) but expectinq
failure and its attendant sufferinq. Social anxiety arises
from this assessment and the question one miqht ask oneself,
"Should I qive it a try?" Children, for whom knowledqe of
social behavior is incomplete, may not be so concerned with
this assessment staqe and foresee successful outcomes even
in the face of past failure. (Besearch indirectly supports
this contention and more will be said of it in the next
section.)
The perception of the lack of ability to achieve one's
self-presentational qoal is probably based in part on one's
past failure in similar situations (Bandura, 1977; Schlenker
S Leary, 1982). It is durinq the assessment phase that such
experiences yield low outcome expectancies when the past
makes failure likely. Mixed with high motivation to impress
an audience, this situation should produce social anxiety.


26
The above account takes the position that people are
reasonably accurate in their assessment of past and future
performances, but as discussed earlier, people may have an
unrealistic set of neqative self-beliefs concerninq their
proficiency in social behavior. Furthermore, these neqative
self-evaluations have been shown to be related to social
anxiety (Behm & Marston, 1968). Whether cne*s perception of
lack of ability is a distortion or an accurate assessment of
ones ability, when combined with motivation to impress
another, the perception leads to social anxiety.
The converqence of ones motivation and ones perceived
ability embody the essence of self-presentational concerns
(Schlenker, 1980, in press-b; Schlenker S Leary, 1982). At
least five types of states pertinent to self-presentational
concerns can be distinquished (Schlenker, in press-b).
First, when people are not motivated to impress another
person, their perception of their ability is irrelevant in
the encounter, and they simply do not have any self-
presentational qoals. They are indifferent to the
situation. Second, when people are assured of another's
evaluation on some identity-relevant dimension, they
probably feel complacent about their performance in the
situation. Third, people who wish to impress another and
who perceive themselves very able to do so successfully feel
secure about themselves and their behavior. Fourth, people
who are motivated to make a particular impression, but


27
perceive themselves as only moderately able to successfully
claim the image, perhaps feel challenged to behave
successfully and feel somewhat socially anxious in the face
of this challenge. Finally, people who are motivated to
impress others in a situation, but perceive themselves
unable to do so should experience a great deal of social
anxiety (Schlenker, in press-b). Althouqh each of the
situations is of great interest in understanding social
anxiety, they were enumerated as important elements in the
process of establishing and maintaining a relationship
(Schlenker, in press-b). In an attempt to understand how
children relate and understand the antecedents of social
anxiety, i.e., actors motivation and ability, two levels of
each of these antecedents were crossed to allow comparison
of all combinations of factors. As a result, only the
"secure" (high motivation and high ability) and the
'anxious" (high motivation and low ability) scenarios from
the Schlenker topography were included here. In addition,
actors portrayed as low in motivation and low in ability and
low in motivation and high in ability were included to
complete the crossing of factors. Children were asked to
respond to these actors with regard to the types of behavior
and feelings the actors may manifest. A consideration of
some of these behaviors follows.


28
Behaviors and Social Anxiety.
The experience of social anxiety is an aversive one and
is associated with nervous reactions and defensive laneuvets
and can include decreased, hesitating, and less articulate
verbalizations, nervous habits (e.q., fidgeting with one's
hands), smiling, head nodding, and signs of physical and/or
psychological withdrawal (Schlenker 6 Leary, 1982).
One of the most well-documented effects of anxiety on
social behavior is the production of deficits in
communication skills. In a review of research. Hurray
(1971) found that speech facility and anxiety are
curvilinearly related in an inverse-U function, i.e., speech
productivity increased with increasing anxiety up to a
point, then diminished. The fact that hiqh levels of
anxiety do decrease communicative effectiveness has received
substantial support (Borkovec, Stone, O'Brien, 6 Kaloupek,
1974; Daly, 1978; Pilkonis, 1977t; Swartz, 1976). In
addition, the communication patterns of socially anxious
people seem to be directed at minimizing contact with
audiences (Cheek 6 Buss, 1981; Schlenker S Leary, 1982).
The idea that anxious people try to distance themselves
from others in anxiety-provoking situations has been
supported by research (Cheek 6 Buss, 1981; Hodigliani, 1971;
Pilkonis, 1977a; Zimbardo, 1977). For example. Cheek and
Buss (1981) demonstrated that shy people who also value
being with other people tend to talk less and avert their


29
gaze sore than non-shy people. Also, people avoid
situations in which embarrassment is likely (Brown £
Carland, 1971) or in which they fear beinq evaluated by
others (Cheek £ Buss, 1981) When involved in an anxiety-
provokinq situation, people say resort to very qlobal
responses that reduce the intensity of another's evaluation,
for example, by smilinq, aqreeinq a lot, noddinq one's head,
etc. These responses have been shown in shy females in
unstructured situations (Pilkonis, 1977b) and have been
interpreted as allowing individuals to appear aqreeable in
situations where they doubt their ability to obtain a truly
positive evaluation (Leary £ Scblenker, 1981).
Although there is no research on this topic with
children, they should become more sophisticated with aqe in
recoqnizinq the relationship between anxiety and behavioral
reactions to it. It is reasonable to suqqest, for example,
that younqer children would be less able than older children
to recoqnize the effects of social anxiety on the kinds of
communicative and interpersonal behaviors discussed above.
Presumably, younqer children have less well-developed ideas
of the position of the self in interaction, perhaps because
they have less well-developed ideas of the self, qenerally.
Bore will be said of this later.
Situations and Social Anxiety.
As mentioned earlier, social anxiety has been implicated
in several different social situations, for example.


30
heterosexual datinq anxiety, embarrassment, and speech
anxiety. Schlenker and Leary (1982) propose that the
underlyinq dimensions on which to position the various types
of social anxiety are (1) the deqree to which the actors
behavior is continqent on others behavior, and (2) whether
the actor is anticipatinq self-presentational failure or has
already failed to achieve a self-presentational qoal
(Schlenker & Leary, 1982, pp. 662-663). Based on the
distinction of Jones and Gerard (1967), continqent
interactions are those in which ones own behavior is
determined by the behavior of the other interactant and
vice-versa. These situations are typified by unstructured
spontaneous interactions, noncontinqent interactions, on
the other hand, are those in which one's behavior follows a
script or plan and is less dependent on others* behavior in
more structured situations, for example, makinq a speech
actinq in a play, teachinq a class. In noncontinqent
situations the role and ones kncwledqe of the role are
central features, while in continqent interactions the role
is less well-defined, qivinq the person somewhat more
behavioral latitude in the interaction.
Based on this dimension it is possible tc classify social
anxiety settinqs by the deqree to which they are continqent
or noncontinqent. Clearly, for example, datinq anxiety is
based on continqent interaction, while speech anxiety arises
in noncontinqent interactions. The labels "interaction" and


31
"audience" anxiety have been coined to refer to anxiety
arisinq in the contingent and noncontinqent interactions,
respectively (Schlenker 6 Leary, 1982).
Althouqh the same antecedents of social anxiety apply in
both interaction and audience anxiety situations, it is not
clear exactly how the experiences differ in terms of
people's responses to them. Noncontinqent interactions, on
the one hand, could produce qreater concerns about audience
evaluations given the increased numbers of audience members.
In addition, performing before large audiences may increase
pressures on actors for whom such performances are novel.
At the same time, nonccntingent situations involve more
planned, scripted behaviors, which miqht then decrease an
actor's concerns over knowinq what to do in the situation.
Contingent interactions, on the other hand, may reduce
concerns over audience evaluations because of small audience
size, often only one other. Also, contingent interactions
may produce less anxiety because this is perhaps the most
common social experience people have. Still, these
situations may produce significant anxiety in actors because
there is usually no or very little prepared scripts for a
particular interaction. One qoal of the current research is
to assess the degree to which these two types of situations
elicit different "judgments from observers as to how the
person in the situations might behave.2
2 A predicament exists for actors in cases where they have
been challenged and proven by circumstances not to have an


From the perspective of symbolic interactionism and the
self-presentation approach to social behavior, the present
study will assess the nature and development of childrens
understanding of the position of the self in social life.
In order to assess this progression, the formulations of
self-presentation and identity as articulated by Schlenker
(1980; in press-b) are most relevant. Their relevance lies
in the central position given the self and its elements in
the process of social interaction. In particular, the
propositions relating social anxiety to self-presentation as
presented by Schlenker and Leary (1982) are very relevant as
tools in assessing childrens understanding of the role of
self in social interaction. To the extent that children are
able to understand self-presentational concerns in others,
they should be able to recoqnize other's motivation to
impress someone and assess their ability to succeed. It
must be noted that, while the definitions and propositions
image they were claiming to possess (Schlenker, 1980).
The experience of this "predicament anxiety" results from
being forced to restore the regard one desires from others
through remedial self-presentations, for example, by
proffering excuses and justifications for the infraction.
There is justification for the separation of predicament
anxiety from other forms of social anxiety. Recall, for
example, that the factor analysis of Baqnusson and
Ekehammar (1975) revealed two types of anxiety situations
related to social interaction: one involving anticipation
of possible self-presentational failure, and one in which
the actor has already failed. Conceptually both types of
social anxiety (anticipated or actual) represent concerns
about possibly or actually beinq in an identity-
threatening predicament (Jackson S Latane, 1981; Schlenker
S Leary, 1982) .


33
of the Schlenker and Leary social anxiety model were used in
oakinq predictions about the variables affectinq anxiety,
the current study was not a direct test of the model.
Measures were taken from observer-subjects as to the
influence of an actor's motivation and ability on social
anxiety. It was expected that observers* judgments would
conform to the overall prepositions of the model, and one
qoal of the research was to help illuminate the
applicability to observers* judgments.
Two developmental processes seem to be involved in this
understanding: social coqnitive development (in terms of
specific abilities, e.q, role-takinq) and development of
self-understandinq as it relates to children's schemas
reqardinq the position of self in social interaction. In
the followinq section, these perspectives and developmental
processes will be addressed in detail.
Social-cognitive Develorment
Introduction
The development of social coqnition has been the object
of increasinq attention and research (for a review see
Flavell & Boss, 1981; Shantz, 1975). Many abilities are
included under the headinq of social-coqnitive development,
ranqinq from such broad issues as the acquisition of self-
knowledqe (Mead, 1934) and the development of qenetic
epistemology (Piaqet, 1932/1965) to more narrowly focused


34
investigations such as the nature of early mother-child
interaction (Frankei, 1980) and self-recognition in
preschoolers (Nolan 6 Kagan, 1980). The major outcome
desired from the myriad investigations into social-cognitive
development is a better understanding of the forms and
progression of individuals* ability to make social
inferences. This ability allows individuals to construct
meaningful and effective perceptions of their social world.
With regard to assessing the development and nature of
children's understanding of social anxiety, several social
inference abilities stand out as particularly relevant.
These include the ability to (a) take the role of another
person, (b) attribute motivation and causality to another's
behavior, and (c) understand one's self in social behavior
through the construction and use of social scripts and
recognition of private and public self-identities as they
relate to the expression of self-presentational behavior.
Each of these social-cognitive skills and their development
will be discussed below.
Studies of anxiety in children, as in that with adults,
deal primarily with two issues. Cn one hand, the research
focuses on childhood anxiety from the perspective of
clinical psychology in an effort to establish the parameters
and antecedents of the pathological forms anxiety can take
(Shaw, 1978). On the other hand, there are a number of
studies dealing with transient, state anxiety, revolving


35
around anxiety experienced prior to performance on some
task, for example, tests and sportinq activities (Elardo S
Caldwell, 1979; McCoy, 1965; Simon S Martens, 1979; Wade,
1981). Both these areas of research are relevant to present
purposes, because in each case elements related to social
interaction often emerge as attendant pressure creating the
anxiety experience. Both are limited, however, in the first
case because the primary concern is with diagnosis and
measurement of clinical forms of anxiety and in the second
case, because the primary antecedent of the anxiety
experience is seen as the test or performance itself,
excluding the effects of possible social evaluation on the
anxiety experience. The relevance of these lines of
research in assessing children's perceptions of social
anxiety and self-presentation will also be discussed below.
Social-cognitive abilities
Amonq the social-cognitive abilities acquired during
childhood, the ability to take the role (or perspective) of
another person is perhaps most central. Bole-takinq ability
includes the nonsocial ability of understanding that others
have different perspectives when perceiving their physical
environment and the social ability of understanding that
others have different psychological experiences (thoughts,
feelinqs). For effective usage in social interactions,
role-taking requires that the individual integrate


36
observable information about the situation the other is in
with information gained by inferrinq the other's
unobservable perceptions of the situation. The inferences
made would most likely include understandinq the other's
motivations, intentions, qoals, and feelinqs with reqard to
the interaction as well as inferences about the other's
overall character. Research has shown that initially
children are primarily eqocentric in their social role-
takinq ability evidenced by their lack of recoqnition of
another's internal psycholoqical perspectives (Feffer, 1970;
Flavell, 1968; Selman, 1971; Selman 5 Byrne, 1974). The
progression from this eqocentric perspective is generally as
follows; (1) at first the child lacks the ability to infer
internal perspectives of others, (2) the child then learns
that others have different psycholoqical experiences, but
fails to see the implications these have for interactions
with others, and (3) the child finally is able to infer that
others have different internal perceptions, is able to
inteqrate these inferences with his or her own perceptions,
and can use them to more effectively interact with and make
judgments about others (Forbes 1978).
Presumably, as their role-takinq skills mature, children
become better able to understand that others' as well as
their own overt behavior may not necessarily be a direct
reflection of internal covert factors such as motivations
and cognitions. Furthermore, younger children would


37
probably be less likely to inteqrate information about
others' perceptions and interaction qoals and formulate an
accurate picture of how others are likely to respond to and
feel in those situations.
Accurate social judgments depend on more than simply
perceivinq the presence or absence of an actor's motivation
to behave in a particular way or an actor's ability to do
so. Given the predicted variations in the experience of
social anxiety, the task of judqinq actors in such
situations becomes more complex. It becomes incumbent on
the observer to make finer discriminations when evaluatinq
the actor's deqree of motivation, the actor's perceived
level of ability, and the nature of the situation itself.
Presumably, younqer children will be less able to inteqrate
information about these factors when makinq judqments as to
the actor's feelinqs, thouqhts, and behaviors in a social
anxiety situation.
Children's awareness and use of cues in evaluatinq others
has been studied extensively (for a review see Keasey,
1977). The issue in Piaqet's (1965) seminal work on moral
reasoninq was the different types of information used by
children of various aqes in evaluatinq an actor who has
committed a moral transqression. In the oriqinal broken cup
study, the actor was portrayed as either havinq qood or bad
motives/intentions in the situation and either causinq a
small or qreat amount of damaqe. The major findinq of this


38
effort was a progression from children (under 7) relyinq
primarily on salient, oblective cues (e.q., amount of
damaqe) in makinq judgments about the nauqhtiness of the
actor to children relyinq on subjective nonsalient cues
(motives/intent) in the situation. The critical factor in
the distinction between objective and subjective moral
reasoninq was the ability of older children to perceive and
utilize information about the motives/intentions of the
story character. Replications qenerally have supported this
notion (Boehm, 1962; Boehm 6 Hass, 1962; Grinder, 1964;
Johnson, 1962). It appeared that the use of subjective
information about the actor's motives and intentions as a
mediator in children's judqments did develop later than
reliance on purely objective information.
The issue of subjective versus objective reasoninq has
broadened to include research on the nature and development
of children's explanations of behavior, extendinq beyond the
domain of moral judqments (Berq-Cross, 1975; Keasey, 1977).
Included in these subsequent investigations are attempts to
understand children's developing ability to perceive and
spontaneously generate factors that can plausibly be viewed
as the causes or reasons for an actor's behavior.
Specifically, the deqree to which children recoqnize and
integrate information about both the actor and situation
appears to increase with aqe (Darby S Schlenker, 1982a;
Keasey, 1977). Factors affecting childrens' social


39
judgments have included (1) the consequences of the actor's
behavior, with positive or negative valence and affectinq
either human or nonhuman targets (Armsby, 1971; Berq-Cross,
1975; Costanzo, Coie, Gruaet, 6 Farnill, 1973; Weiner &
Peter, 1973); (2) the intentions of the actor; that is, did
the actor foresee the consequences and attempt to obtain
them (Berndt S Berndt, 1975; Shaw 6 Sulzer, 1964); (3) the
motives of the actor, usually presented as good or bad, but
including reasons generated for the actor's behavior (Berndt
S Berndt, 1975; Karniol £ Ross, 1976; Piaget, 1965; Rule 6
Duker, 1973; (4) the actor's feelings, usually measured by
empathic feelinq for the actor (Feshbach 6 Feshbach, 1969;
Feshbach £ Roe, 1968); (5) the character of the actor (Darby
£ Schlenker, 1982b) ; (6) the responsibility of the actor
(Darby £ Schlenker, 1982a; Shaw £ Sulzer, 1964).
In the most typical paradiqm, children are asked to 1udqe
actors depicted in stories interacting directly or
indirectly with others and producing some outcome (small
versus great and/or positive versus negative consequences).
Factors such as motives, intentions, and character are
presented in ways that require children to make inferences
about their presence and nature in the main story character.
Initially, the findings of such investigations showed
younger children relyinq more than older children on
information about the outcomes produced by the actor to the
exclusion of information presented earlier in the story


40
about the actor's motives and intentions. Subsequent
methodoloqies have more clearly distinquished between qood
versus bad motives and between intentional versus accidental
acts (Costanzo et al. 1973; Karniol 6 Boss, 1976),
revealing that younger children (preschoolers) are aware of
these distinctions and use them when evaluating a story
character (Armsby, 1971; Buchanan 6 Thompson, 1973; Farnill,
1974) .
Evidence has since accumulated to suggest that the
progression from objective to subjective reasoninq is not so
very clear {Gutkin, 1972; Morrison 6 Keasey cited in Keasey,
1977). For example, Gutkin (1972) presented 6-, 8-, and
10-year-olds with two actors in two moral transqression
stories in which the severity of the consequences was either
varied (hiqh versus low) or was held constant. The story
character's action was depicted as either intentional or
accidental and as the result of either a good or bad motive.
The results suggested a four-stage progression. In the
first stage, children rated the characters in both stories
as equally naughty when they produced equally severe
consequences, showing no use of information about intentions
and motives. In the second stage, children based their
ratings on intentionality and motives when consequences were
identical, but based them on consequences when all three
factors varied. In the third staqe, children's judgments
were based more on the actor's intenticns/notives than on


41
consequences when all factors varied, but considered
consequences more important when consequences alone were
different across stories. In the fourth stage, children
considered the actor's intentions/motives more than
consequences when judqinq the actor's nauqhtiness in all
conditions (Gutkin, 1972).
What emerges from this kind of research is a picture of
children at preschool aqe to late childhood who may be aware
of another's motives and intentions, but who differentially
weight these factors, alonq with information about
consequences, in evaluating another's behavior (flerq-Cross,
1975; Darby S Schlenker, 1982a; Bybash, Boodin, 6 Hallion,
1979). The evidence from Gutkin's (1972) study suggests
this kind of differential weighting of information. In
addition, children apparently recognize and use different
inferred information about the cause of an actor's behavior
at different aqes. For example, Peterson and Keasey (cited
in Keasey, 1977) have shown that in iudqinq transqressive
actors, children use information about motives (whether the
actor is qood or bad) prior to using information about the
actor's intentions, showinq this preference as early as aqe
three. The use of information about another's intentions
appears later (by aqe 8) where the task is more directly to
attribute cause to anothers' behavior, presumably a more
complex task. As children qrow cider, they become more
adept at formulating plausible explanations of another's


42
behavior. In order to do this children probably learn to
evaluate all the relevant elements related to the actor and
situation, inteqrate this information, and arrive at
reasonably accurate accounts of anothers behavior.
In making social judgments, the development of childrens
ability to make social attributions becomes an important
issue. It is reasonable to suspect that very young children
have some notion about causality, gained through their
experiences of learning to produce desired outcomes by
acting on their environment (Piaqet, 1954). Furthermore, it
is likely that a child's notions of cause and effect become
increasingly more elaborate as do his or her interactions
with others and the environment. The acquisition of the
concept of psychological causes of behavior appears to
develop in the preschool years (Piaget 6 Inhelder, 1969).
At this stage, however, children are often likely to imbue
even inanimate objects with a motivation to behave. It is
not until around 6 or 7 years of aqe that children, having
become more proficient at recognizing the subjective
perspectives of others, beqin to distinguish between covert
subjective states and overt behavior and appreciate that
psychological states can in part determine behavior (Selman,
1980) .
This rudimentary causal reasoning does not necessarily
allow children to make sophisticated assessments of
another's behavior. There is evidence to suggest that the


43
higher-level ability to appreciate multiple causes of
behavior, including elements of the situation as well as the
internal perceptions of actors in the situation, develops
throughout childhood (Karniol & Boss, 1976; Smith, 1975;
Shultz, Butkowsky, Pearce, S Shanfield, 1975). Based on the
attribution theory of Harold Kelley (1971), researchers have
outlined the acquisition of a hiqher level causal reasoninq
by investiqatinq children's understanding of the discounting
principle and the scheme for multiple sufficient causation.
According to Kelley's discounting principle "the role of a
given cause in producing a given effect is discounted if
other plausible causes are also present" (Kelley, 1971, p.
8). Multiple sufficient causation refers to the presence of
an effect and two sufficient causes in which case either
cause will be accepted. To make sophisticated causal
attributions also requires the observer to consider the
inhibitory or facilitative nature of any cause present in
the situation. As a result, observers can make stable
attributions of causality to either the actor or the
environment.
In a study by Karniol and Ross (1976), kindergarteners,
second, and fourth grade children were presented with a
story involving hypothetical children playinq with a toy.
In one condition, the child's mother had instructed him or
her to play with the toy; in another condition, the child's
mother rewarded him or her for playing with it; and in a


44
third condition, the child played with the toy on his or her
own accord. Subjects were asked which child had really
wanted to play with the toy. Accordinq to Kelleys model,
the cause of behavior in the first two conditions should lie
in the environment, and in the third condition in the actor.
Childrens accurate attributions in these conditions would
demonstrate their ability to make use of the multiple
sufficient cause scheme and the discountinq principle. The
results showed that second qraders used the scheme for
multiple sufficient cause more than kinderqarteners but less
than fourth qraders. Kinderqarteners failed to make
attributions in line with predictions from Kelleys model,
but rather cited both internal and external forces as
causinq the childs behavior in the reward and command
conditions, sugqestinq a partial causal scheme in this aqe
group (Karniol & Ross, 1976, p. 459). (Smith, 1975,
obtained the same results with the exception that
kinderqarteners showed no consistent use of causal schemes
in any condition.)
In another test of Kelleys model in childhood
attributions (Shultz et al., 1975), 5-, 9-, 13-year-olds
were shown pictures of an event and provided with
information about the presence or absence of potential
causes for the event. In line with Smith (1975), they found
no evidence for the use of the multiple sufficient cause
scheme in kinderqarteners. Purther, both 9- and 13-year-


45
olds showed evidence of understanding the scheme, that is,
were able to recoqnize when one of two causes for the event
was sufficient to produce the effect. Thirteen-year-olds,
however, made the finest discrimination by recoqnizinq the
interactive effects of the inhibitory and facilitative
nature of causes. For example, this qroup was able to
discount a present inhibitory external cause and infer the
presence of an internal facilitative cause producing the
behavior (Shultz et al., 1975).
As these examples demonstrate, the ability to make social
attributions evolves throughout childhood. There are
parallels between the cognitive skills necessary to make
social inferences and the cognitive skills acquired in the
nonsocial domain following Piagets cognitive-developmental
stages (Guttentag 6 Longfellow, 1977). One aspect central
to the progression of cognitive skills is centration or the
tendency to focus ones attention on the most salient
elements in a situation (physical or social) when evaluating
it (Inhelder & Piaget, 1958). Decenterinq is the ability to
shift ones attention from one to another relevant cue in
the perceptual field, thereby making social inferences more
accurate due to increased alternatives to use as
explanations. One who is capable of decentering must, then,
be able to process more types and greater amounts of
information when evaluating events. This capability seems
to advance with experience and acquisition of higher-level


46
coqnitive skills. The work of Karniol and Boss, Shultz et
al., and Smith taken together shows that younq children are
unable to decenter to any great deqree, while older children
(by aqe 9) show evidence for greater skill at decentering.
In the Shultz et al, study the 13-year-olds showed clear
understanding of decentering, able to Bake finer
discriainations when explaining the causes of a social
action. Presumably older children (above fourth grade)
would be more likely than younger children to effectively
perceive and discriminate among the various levels of an
actor's motivation in a social anxiety situation.
As hypothesized in the previous section, the potential
for social anxiety varies not only with the level of an
actor's motivation to convey a specific desired image, but
also with the actor's perceptions of his or her ability to
do so successfully. In order to assess accurately an
actor's perceptions of ability level in this social
situation, children should have knowledge of the actor's
actual ability level based on past performance and the
presumed linkage between the actor's actual ability and his
or her perception of that ability. Combining this knowledge
with knowledge of the degree to which the actor is motivated
to impress the other interactant should result in varyinq
predictions about the actor's experience of social anxiety.
It is likely that older children are more able than younqer
children to integrate this kind of informaticn and formulate
accurate evaluations of an actor in this kind of situation.


47
Children's understanding of the concept of ability has
been studied in several ways (Frieze, 1976; Kun, 1977;
Nicholls, 1978, 1979; Shaklee, 1976; Stipek, 1981; Stipek &
Hoffman, 1930). Most of these studies are concerned with
tracinq the development of children's perceptions and
predictions of their own and other's behavior on school
performance tasks. Using the model of causal attribution of
success and failure introduced by iieiner, Frieze, Kukla,
Reed, Rest, and Rosenbaum (1971), researchers have focused
on children's causal explanations of performance based on
the dimensions of locus of control and stability (e.q..
Frieze, 1976; Hicholls, 1978, 1979; Stipek 6 Hoffman, 1980).
According to the Reiner et al. model, causal attributions of
one's performance outcome (success/fallure) depend on
information about one's past performance on related tasks
(consistency) and others* performance on the task
(consensus). Following a successful or unsuccessful
performance, one is then likely to use this information to
evaluate one's performance attributing it to some internal
factor (ability or effort) or some external factor (task
difficulty or luck). The conclusion one draws has
implications for one's expectations about future performance
outcomes. Experimentally, in rating hypothetical actors,
observers used information about the actor's consistency
over time on related tasks as well as knowledge of others'
performance on the task. For example, observers attributed


48
high ability or effort to a successful actor when others
were described as failinq the task. Also, subjects
attributed luck to a successful actor who had failed on
previous trials.
Similar studies have been conducted with children (e.q..
Frieze, 1976; Buble, Feldman, 6 Boqqiano, 1976; Weiner S
Peter, 1973) in which they were presented with descriptions
depicting a successful or unsuccessful actor along with
information about the actor*s past performance, the
performance of others, and the actor's incentive to do well
(i.e., task importance). In the Frieze (1976) study
children in grades 4 through 12 were given such a story and
asked to rate the sufficiency of each of four factors
(ability, luck, task difficulty, and effort) as causal
explanations for the actors* outcome (success or failure).
The results showed that all children made fairly consistent
attributions in line with the Weiner et al. model. For
example, outcomes consistent with past performance were
attributed to stable causes (ability and task difficulty),
while inconsistent outcomes were attributed to unstable
causes (luck and effort).
While this provides support for the notion that younq
children (at least fourth graders) are adept at usinq
information about past performance as a guide in ratinq the
sufficiency of various possible causal factors (see also
Shultz et al., 1975), the results do not go unqualified.


49
The Frieze (1976) study also indicated that older children
were more consistent than younger children in their
judgments, varying thea ou the basis of past perforaance as
well as the importance of the task (actor's incentive). For
example, when the incentive was low, cider children
attributed an actor's success to effort and an actor's
failure to task difficulty. Furthermore, older children
also aade more use of consensus information (others*
performances) when explaining the actor's outcome.
Evidence from these studies provides some support to the
idea of a progression throughout childhood of the ability to
utilize various sources of information to arrive at a
sophisticated level of social inference. Presumably, only
children with the relatively sophisticated information
processing skills as described above will be able to
accurately weight and integrate information about an actor's
past performance and incentive to impress another in self
presentation situations.
A study by Run, Parsons, and Ruble (1974) provides
evidence consistent with the above, but approaches
children's ability to make attributions from a slightly
different perspective. While children in the Frieze (1976)
study were presented with information about the success or
failure of a hypothetical actor, Run et al. provided
children with information about an actor's past performance
and current effort and asked them to predict the most likely


50
outcome. The results indicate that children as younq as six
do use information about effort and ability in predicting
another's outcome, reflecting, perhaps, some evidence for
decentering at this aqe. However, the 6-year-olds failed to
recognize the multiplicative nature of effort and ability,
but rather, for example, predicted success when either the
actor demonstrated great effort or had hiqh ability or both.
Older children (8- and 10-year-olds), on the other hand,
used both effort and ability information, recognizing their
multiplicative nature in producing outcomes, for example,
predicting greatest likelihood of success when both effort
and ability were substantial, but less likelihood of success
when either ability or effort was insubstantial (Kun,
Parsons, S Ruble, 197b).
In addition to the above finding, Kun et al. found that
subjects over 8 years of age depended more and more on
effort information in making their predictions, weighting it
more heavily than information about past performance.
Consistent with this result are the findings of Seiner and
Peter (1973), who also noted an increasing preference for
effort information with age. Perhaps this growing reliance
on effort in predictions of achievement outcome represents
an increasing awareness of the relationship between effort
and ability; that is, ability is static and finite whereas
effort can vary and have a strcnqer mediating effect on
predictions of success. It appears that recognition of this
relationship increases with age (Nichclls, 1978).


51
Children not only vary in their understanding and use of
ability and effort information, but also qenerally differ in
the predictions of successful or unsuccessful outcomes
(Nicholls, 1978, 1979; Stipek 6 Hoffman, 1980). Evidence
suggests that younger children are more likely than older
children to predict higher chances for success for
themselves, even whey they have had a history of failure
{see also Parsons S Ruble, 1977; Shaklee £ Tucker, 1979).
This finding has been interpreted as supporting the notion
that younger children (preschoolers) lack the cognitive
skills necessary to assess accurately information about past
performance and use this information to predict future
outcomes (Parsons 6 Ruble, 1977). By around age 8, children
do attain the necessary cognitive skills to make "accurate
predictions based on this kind of information.
Interpretation of this progression as an achievement in
cognitive understanding has not gone unchallenged, however.
Stipek and Hoffman (1980) reproduced the finding that young
children have "overly optimistic expectations of success,"
but also demonstrated that these same young children do use
information about hypothetical others* past performance to
reasonably predict the others* outcomes. They suggest that,
as a result, children as young as 3 can and do have the
ability to make outcome predictions for others, but may have
what Piaget (1954) discussed as an exaggerated view of their
own self-efficacy.


52
It is important to note that, while the abo?e research on
children's performance-related judqments is useful in
assessing their understanding of the performance of actors
in self-presentation, the information provided about an
actor's past performance (his or her ability) references
somewhat different situations. As discussed earlier, the
degree of social anxiety experienced by an actor is a
product of the actor's motivation to impress an evaluative
audience and the actor's perceived ability to do so. The
most important dependent measure here is children's
judgments of a hypothetical actor's experience of social
anxiety. It was expected that younger children would be
more likely than older children to utilize information about
the actor's past performance alone while cider children
would be more able to recognize the interaction between past
performance and degree of motivation when evaluating the
actor's experience. Along with judqments of the actor's
experience, children were asked to predict the actor's
probability of successfully achieving his or her goal.
While it is relevant to these issues, research on
performance-related judgments have not used settings where
performance is directly related to obtaining a desired
interaction goal, but rather focus almost exclusively on
performance of skill and academic tasks. While performance
evaluation is implicit, it is not treated as a central
factor. With regard to the current study, the presence of


53
an evaluative audience is central. Hence, the notion of
performance here is somewhat different than in the research
discussed above.
It was thought, however, that interesting age differences
would emerge in children's judgments of social anxiety in
others across the two types of social anxiety situations
discussed earlier. Becall that the interaction/contingent
scenario involves an actor whose behavior is for the most
part unplanned and the result of responses exchanged with a
significant other. Conceptually distinct is the
audience/noncontingent scenario in which the actor's
behavior is for the most part planned and not the result of
spontaneous exchanges during interaction. It is possible
that children prior to age 8 rather than cider children will
react differently to each of these situations with regard to
their use of past performance or ability information. It
might be the case that younger children will be less
accurate in judging the social anxiety experience of actor's
in the interaction than in the performance situation. For
example, for younger children, knowledge of past performance
in social interactions might be less precise and more
variable than knowledge of past performance on some less
social, script-determined ability. As a result, younger
children might judge actors in contingent situations as more
likely to be successful than in noncontingent situations
when the actor was unsuccessful in the past. This could be


54
due in part to young children's evaluations of others in
social settings which appear to reflect reactions as thouqh
they themselves were the actor (Darby, 1980). In the
performance situation, where ability information about a
performance on a more concrete skill is given, younger
children should perhaps show a more accurate understanding
of past performances and their impact on success or failure
in others.
A completely accurate assessment of an actor's social
anxiety experience involves not only consideration of past
performance information, but also recognition that the actor
has a particular perception of that ability. It is not the
level of ability alone, but the actor's perception of that
ability that interacts with motivation to potentially
produce social anxiety. Beyond processing information
presented about an actor's motivation and ability, children
were tested as to how effectively they took the role of the
actor to determine that actor's responses to the situation.
From the previous discussion of role-taking, it was presumed
that younger children would be less able than older children
to infer the actor's self-perception of ability to convey
the desired impression in the situation.
The nature of the role-taking task above is of the one-
step variety, i.e., the observer is able or unable to take
the role of the actor. Observers of a self-presentation
situation, however, must move beyond this one-step inference


55
process to a two-step process, recognizing not only the
actor*s perspective, but the other story characters'
perspectives as well. For example, an actor who is
motivated to impress another but doubts his or her ability
to do so is not only thinking of these dimensions, but also
the thinkinq (or potential evaluations) of the others. In
order to assess another's social anxiety experience in this
case, an observer would need to recoqnize that the actor is
thinkinq not just of him or herself but also what the other
may be thinkinq of him or her. The observer who recognizes
these processes would be demonstrating an understanding of
the recursive nature of thinkinq. This understanding
appears to increase with aqe (DeVries, 1970; Feffer, 1970;
Flavell, 1968,1979,1981; Miller, Kessel, 6 Flavell, 1970;
Selman, 1973; Selman 5 Byrne, 1974).
From the perspective of the child as perceiver of his or
her own thoughts, the role-taking ability involved in
"thinking about thinking" is described as developing through
four levels (Flavell, 1968; Shantz, 1975). At the first
level (by age 6), children can infer that ethers may have
different thoughts from their own. Next, children (around
aqe 8 or 9) become aware that others do have different
thoughts. Next, children (by at 10 or 11) become aware of
others' thoughts, while at the same time considering what
others are thinking the child is thinking. Finally,
children (12 through adolescence) recognize the potentially


56
endless recursion to interpersonal thinkinq and make
reasonably accurate assessments of the interrelationships
aoonq the perspectives of a number of others in relation to
their own (Shantz, 1975).
Proa the perspective of the child as perceiver of another
in interaction (i.e., the child not as interactant, but
observer), the same developmental trend eaerqes (Miller,
Kessel, & Flavell, 1970). In the Miller et al. study,
children from first to sixth qrade were shown cartoons
depictinq an actor (a) thinkinq about two people, (b)
thinkinq about two people talkinq, (c) thinkinq about the
thinkinq of another person, and (d) thinkinq about the
thinkinq of another person thinkinq about the actor.
(Analysis revealed this series to reflect increasinq
difficulty.) Children were asked to describe what the actor
was doing. The results indicated that all children
understood the processes in the first cartoon. However, it
was not until fourth qrade that children understood the
second cartoon, with 75% of fourth qraders understanding it.
Fifth and sixth qraders were able to understand the
reasoninq in the third cartoon, but experienced some
difficulty with it. There was no evidence in the qrades
sampled of understandinq of the fourth cartoon. Miller et
al. interpreted their results as providing further evidence
for the development of this role-takinq skill in con-junction
with other, more typically tested role-takinq abilities.


57
With reqard to children*s perceptions of an actor in a
social anxiety situation, it was considered likely, in line
with the above developmental trend, to expect that younqer
children would be less likely than older children to
recoqnize the recursive nature of thinkinq. As a result,
their evaluations of an actor's social anxiety experience
would not be as related to measures of the deqree to which
they understand the actor's thinkinq in the situation,
Conversely, older children's evaluation of social anxiety
would be directly related to measures of their ability to
understand the nature of recursive thouqht processes.
Children's ability to take the perspective of another and
make inferences about the others' thouqhts, feelinqs, and
desires is related in important ways to their skills in
interpersonal functioninq (Marsh, Felicsima, 6 Barenboim,
1981; Spivack & Shure, 1976; Spivack, Platt, 6 Shure, 1976).
Interpersonal functioninq includes a number of related
interpersonal skills such as a child's understandinq of
social processes (e.q., his or her understandinq of other's
perceptions in social settinqs, his or her ability to
recoqnize others' qoals in interaction and how they may
conflict, how he or she understands interpersonal problem-
solvinq, and how effective he or she is in pursuinq and
achievinq interaction qoals).
It has been suggested that the ability to make accurate
inferences about others' perspectives is fundamental to


58
effective interpersonal functioning (Afflect, 1975;
Batchelor, 1975). Research has supported this contention,
showing a direct relationship between social perspective-
taking anility and interpersonal problem-solving (Marsh et
al., 1981; Spivack et al., 1976). In a recent study of this
relationship. Marsh et al. (1981) tested eighth graders on
their perspective-taking ability and problem-solving skills.
She was interested in how these two social-cognitive
abilities related to one another and to children's social
behavior. Subjects were rated on the degree to which they
could (1) take the perspective of various actors in an
ambiguous social setting (Feffer's (1970) Bole-Taking Task),
(2) assess the affect of a story character, (3) predict a
story protagonist's successful attainment of his or her
interaction goal, and (4) analyze components of an
interpersonal problem-solving taskwhat is the problem,
what might the story character do, what the character feels,
etc. Then children rated themselves and were rated by
teachers on their level of interpersonal problem-solving
ability reflected in responses to measures of the child's
own behavior. As a result, two dimensions of perspective
taking (social and affective) were assessed along with two
types of problem-solving tasks and measures of the subject's
own ability.
The results showed a strong and direct relationship
between perspective-taking and interpersonal problem-


59
solving. In addition, althouqh there were differences
depending on whether the child or teacher was rating the
benavior, there was evidence of a relationship between
children's levels of perspective-takinq and interpersonal
problem-solving and ratings of actual prcblem-solvinq
behavior. It appears that proficiency in social inference
tasks reflects a similar proficiency in evaluating others*
interpersonal problem-solving as well as one's own. Because
these results are based on only one age qroup of children,
it is not possible to determine a clear developmental
progression in these social-coqnitive skills. However,
their conceptual linkaqe makes it reasonable to suspect that
social perspective-taking and interpersonal problem-solvinq
ability may develop concurrently. Furthermore, proposing a
parallel developmental progression reflects the approach of
Spivack and Shure (1976), who have developed a program for
helpinq improve children's interpersonal functioning
generally. Their program involves directly traininq
maladjusted children in the use of social inference skills,
commensurate with a child's level of social-coqnitive
understanding, in order to improve their social functioning
(Spivack 6 Shure, 1976).
As a result, analyzing and solving problems are integral
interpersonal skills that emerge and become increasingly
sophisticated throughout childhood. Social competence
seems to directly imply the social-coqnitive perspective-


60
taking ability as described above. Children who accurately
assess tie degree to which another nay experience social
anxiety would be socially competent in this way, i.e., by
recoqnizing that an interpersonal problem exists for an
actor under high social anxiety conditions, why it exists,
what the actor must or is most likely considering in order
to solve the problem, and expectations of the interaction
outcomes.
Children and self-presentation
As defined earlier, self-presentation represents an
actor's conscious or unconscious attempts to convey a self
relevant image to real or imagined audiences. Social
anxiety has been defined as the aversive experience
resulting from an actor's perception that he or she is
unlikely to achieve a self-presentational qoal. It is
expected that children of different ages will differ in the
manner and degree to which they understand the phenomenon of
social anxiety in others. Their understanding of the
relevant variables involved in creatinq social anxiety
should reflect related developmental processes. First,
their understanding should reflect their level of social-
cognitive development (e.q., takinq the actor's perspective,
including recognizinq the actor's goals in the interaction,
understanding the interaction of the actor's level of
ability with the actor's motivation, making inferences about


61
the psycholoqical causes of behavior, and makinq inferences
about the actors thouqhts and perceptions.)
Second, childrens understanding of social anxiety should
be related to their level of self-understanding (e.q.,
recognizing yourself as affecting and being affected by the
impressions others hold toward you, understanding the
potential divergence between private covert aspects of self
and public behavior). From the perspective of theoretical
writing on the nature of the self, this development of self
understanding closely resembles the notion of empirical
self (James, 1890/1950). The empirical self is generally
defined as ones understanding of ones self as the object
of others thoughts and action, including recognition of
others' impressions of self. It is the self-as-known. The
complementary dimension of self, according to James
(1890/1950), is the 1, or ones sense of self as an
existinq, volitional being. It is the self-as-knower.
There is growing evidence to suggest, as described
originally by Mead (1934), that the "I" or pure self
develops first followed by the me" or empirical self
(Broughton, 1978; Damon 6 Hart, 1982; Guardo & Bohan, 1971;
Selman, 1980). Throuqh social experience, children grow to
understand themselves and the relationship between
themselves and their social environment, recoqnizing
situations that may heighten self-presentational concerns.


62
Selman (1980) investigated the changinq nature of self-
understandinq by presenting children from kindergarten
throuqh sixth grade with stories requiring children to
reflect on the thoughts and behavior of the characters. The
sain character is a child who has lost his puppy and tells a
friend that he wishes never to see another puppy. The
friend is then shown passing a pet store with only two
puppies left and knowing of the main character's upcoming
birthday. Children responded to questions about what the
friend should do followed by probes about the psychological
perspectives of the characters and the children's knowledge
of self generally (e.q., "Can you ever fool yourself into
thinkinq that you feel one way when you really feel
another?").
Selaan found evidence for five stages of children's self-
awareness and understanding. Initially, children describe
the nature of self in terms of physicalistic dimensions,
showinq no understanding of the difference between internal
psychological experience and external behavior. The child
at this staqe is a nonreflective existential behaver. At
the next staqe, around age 8, children recoqnize the
internal-external dimension but still assume a one-to-one
correspondence between behavior and feelinqs. At the third
stage (by age 9) children not only recognize the internal-
external dimension but also how these may not reflect the
same experience, i.e., knowing that behavior can be at odds


63
with feelings. In the fourth level (early adolescence)
younq people becoae aware of what Selman describes as the
self's own self-awareness and discusses this aqe as one of
increasing self-consciousness and attempts to monitor the
self-experience. Finally, in level five (middle to late
adolescence) individuals can handle often disturbing and
contradictory self-views by developing the idea of different
levels of consciousness, releqatinq conflicting self-imaqes
to different places on a hierarchy from conscious to less
conscious aspects of self (Selman, 1980).
Very similar views of the development of self
understanding have emerqed in ether investigations
(Broughton, 1978; Guardo 6 Bohan, 1971; Keller, Ford, &
fieacham, 1978). The fundamental change common in such
studies and of importance for the current study is the
emergence sometime during middle childhood of a self that is
capable of distinguishing between inner psychological
experience and outer behavior. Specifically, children in
whom this kind of self has emerged should be more aware of
the pressures accompanying social behavior, i.e., the
presence often of an evaluative audience that motivates an
individual to present him or herself to the audience so as
to create a desired impression. The child at this stage
would recognize that he or she and other people can monitor
their thoughts and at one extreme, conscious deception
becomes a possibility (Damon S Hart, 1982)
(Note that the


64
possibility of conscious deception does not mean that this
is the qoal of most self-presentational behavior (Schlenker,
1980).) As a result, children at this age and later should
be better able to analyze others* behavior in terms of
others* self-presentational qoals, and it is likely they
would appreciate the variables affectinq the experience of
social anxiety.
As mentioned earlier, there are primarily three related
developmental processes involved in children's understandinq
of self-presentational concerns in others. The first two
are the child's level of social coqnitive development and
the level of children's self-understandinq. The third is
the process of integrating social experience and
constructing social scripts. The development of social
understanding from the approach of script theory is qaininq
momentum (Nelson, 1981). This approach, based on work in
social psychology (Langer, 1978) and theoretical writing on
symbolic interactionism (Meltzer et al., 1975), conceives of
behavior in a current situation as following learned scripts
from experience in similar situations in the past. Persons
recognize cues in a current settinq that enqaqe scripts
that then direct their behavior.
Developmental work using the script approach typically
involves presenting children of different ages with labels
(cues) for a variety of different situations, for example,
eating at a restaurant (Nelson 6 Gruendel, 1979). By


65
analyzing the content of children's responses, it is
possible to assess the degree to which children are familiar
with a particular type of behavioral setting as well as how
their schematic representations of various settings differ
across ages. For example, relevant elements of a script
include temporal orderinq of events, causal linkaqes between
them, and so on.
Script knowledge develops from a variety of sources,
including the structuring of events by parents (Bruner,
1975) as well as television, films, and observation and
interaction with peers (Nelson, 1981). With experience,
children become increasingly able to abstract knowledge from
particular situations and apply this to mere general and
inclusive classes of situations. For example, a
preschooler's script for eating at a restaurant will be
likely to reflect a particular eating experience, for
example, "going to MacDonald's," while the scripts of
children in the third or fourth grade would be more likely
to reflect general restaurant-eating behaviors, for example,
ordering a meal, eating, paying for it, etc..
It has been suggested that when an individual encounters
a novel situation, one for which no script exists, he or she
will engage in a greater amount of conscious processing of
information, attending to relevant elements in the new
situation (Langer, 1978). Much the same phenomenon has been
discussed in terms of children's reactions to novel.


66
unscripted interaction situations (Nelson, 1981). In
children, the response to the situation may involve
reverting to an egocentric perspective (evidenced by the
use, e.g., of "inner speech"), disregarding the other
interactant's perspective, and displaying a variety of
behaviors unrelated to the interaction (Nelson, 1981).
Presumably, as these children encounter more and varied
social situations, their ability to apply abstracted script
knowledge will increase.
It is likely that children's acguisition of scripts
related to social anxiety and self-presentation situations
will progress with age from initial variable reactions to
these situations to application of scripted knowledge
abstracted from social experience. Typical responses to
social anxiety, short of actually withdrawing from the
situation, include averting one's eyes, talking less, and
feeling anxious. To the degree that older rather than
younger children have more established scripts about social
anxiety situations, their responses to items concerning an
actor in such a situation should be more accurate and
consistent. On the other hand, younger children's responses
to such items should be less accurate and more variable,
indicating a lack of any abstracted script knowledge with
regard to social anxiety situations.
In addition, it is possible that children's use of script
knowledge in analyzing social anxiety in others may


67
represent at least some degree of understanding of scripts
for self-presentational concerns in general. If this is the
case, this understanding should develop concurrently with
their self-understanding as it relates to social competence
and social behavior as described earlier.
There is no direct, research on the development of
scripted knowledge of self-presentational behavior across a
number of settings. Darby and Schlenker (1982a), in a study
of children's understanding of apologies, did obtain results
suggesting that children as young as kindergarten do
recognize the functions apologies serve for actors who have
committed a transgression. For example, they rated an actor
who apologized as more forqiveable than an actor who did
not. They also recognized the influence of the degree of
the actor's responsibility for the incident by rating an
actor, say, with high versus low responsibility as more
deserving of punishment.
It is difficult to generalize this evidence for script
knowledge concerning apologies to other types of self-
presentational situations. It may be for example, that
being in situations callinq for apologies is a common
occurrence for even very young children and being directed
by parents to apologize for a number of transgressions
enables children to learn the ins and outs of this script
fairly quickly. It is worth speculating that social anxiety
situations, though inevitably occurring during the early


68
childhood years, may be less coaaoo. As a result, a longer
period for the development of scripts relevant to these
situations was presumed, especially with regard to
children's appreciation of the dimensions (motivation and
ability) that are postulated to antecede this experience.
Anxiety and children
In attempting to assess the development of children's
understanding of social anxiety, it is important to discuss
the scope and nature of psychological investigations of
anxiety in childhood. There are unfortunately no studies on
the development of children's understanding of anxiety in
general and social anxiety in particular. There is,
however, a fairly large amount of work on childhood anxiety
from the perspectives of clinicians and educators which has
theoretical importance for the current study. It appears
from these perspectives that a maior underlying process in
the kind of anxiety experiences of interest here is self-
confirmation through revealing aspects of the self to
significant others in real or imagined interaction. The
degree to which someone is consciously or unconsciously
apprehensive about self-confirmation seems to be directly
related to experiencing anxiety in one form or another. (It
is important to note that there are anxiety experiences
unrelated to the process of self-confirmaticn, and these
experiences, such as fear of lightening, are not included in
the present study.)


69
From the perspective of clinical psycholoqy and child
psychiatry, anxiety is most often viewed as psycholoqical
distress resultinq from unresolved developmental conflicts
(Shaw, 1978). Developmental conflicts are viewed in terms
of Freudian psychodynamies in which children are confronted
with proqressive conflicts between internal psycholoqical
and bioloqical needs and external pressures from primarily
parents. These conflicts vary in substance from those
surrounding oral and anal needs to those involvinq sexual
identification with parents. Presumably, a mature adult
personality is formed by successful resolution of these
conflicts. The childs eqo develops throuqh this process of
conflict and conflict resolution, forminq effective
mechanisms to deal with conflicts arisinq from the clash
between internal wishes and needs and external or societal
constraints. These defense mechanisms in most individuals
represent effective strateqies for dealinq with conflict,
but for persons less sophisticated in resolvinq
developmental conflicts, the defense mechanisms can become
exaqqerated and produce symptoms associated with neurotic
reactions. For example, an acute depressive neurosis in
childhood usually represents a developmental failure in the
child's ability to overcome a severe trauma (e.q., loss of a
parent) and is evidenced by loss of self-esteem and
withdrawal from social interaction (Shaw, 1978). In this
case, the process of self-confirmation is stunted by an


70
apprehension of interaction based on fear of reliving the
trauma,
In many ways the self and its social development are
reflected in work in childhood psychopatholcqy dealinq with
psychoneurotic disorders in qeneral and anxiety and
depressive reactions in particular (Shaw, 1978). For
example, the self may experience anxiety resultinq from
ineffective and unrewarding social interactions with
significant others and, if the conflict qoes unresolved, the
self may construct a chronic depressive neurosis to shield
itself from future trauma. A chronically depressed child
is, in a sense, one whose self has not had a history of
successful interaction and self-ccnfirmation. This child
has resolved his or her anxiety through withdrawal from
social interaction in much the same way as an individual
experiencing transient social anxiety may seek to withdraw
from the interaction. The role of the self in both
patholoqical and nonpathological anxiety experiences seems
to be preeminent.
Given the critical role of the self and self
understanding in the experience of anxiety, it is
conceivaole that an individuals level of social-cognitive
development and self-understanding would relate directly to
the individuals understanding of anxiety in others.
Although there is no work in the clinical literature on
childrens perceptions of anxiety in others, it was presumed


71
that, if a child is fairly sophisticated in his or her
understanding of the self in social settings, then he or she
would perhaps sore readily recognize the experience of
anxiety in others.
Measures of childhood anxiety almost invariably include
items related to children's reactions to social situations
{Magnusson 6 Ekehammar, 1975; Penny S McCann, 1964; Sarason,
Davidson, Lighthall, Waite, S Ruebush, 1960; Scherer S
Nakamura, 1968). Recall that Magnusson and Ekehammar, in a
dimensional analysis of their Inventory of Reactions to
Situations, found two types of situations that directly
involve people's reactions to social situations; threat of
punishment and ego threat. These situations vault the self
and the process of self-ccnfirmaticn to prominence under the
prospects of revealing self-relevant information to
evaluative others. In a study of the scope and nature of
children's fears. Miller, Barrett, and Hanpe (1972) factor
analyzed the responses of children aged 6 to 16 on the
Louisville Fear Survey (Scherer 6 Nakamura, 1968). They
found three factors: (1) fear of physical injury, (2) fear
of natural and supernatural dangers, such as storms and
darkness, and (3) psychic stress, including fear of being
criticized, making mistakes, social events, making others
angry, and performing for others (Miller et al., 1972). The
dimension of psychic stress again points to the salience of
self-presentational concerns and their relation to the


72
anxiety experience. Also, while fear of natural and
supernatural dangers diminishes with age, fear of physical
injury and psychic distress appear early and remain anxiety-
provoking throughout childhood and adolescence.
Along with psychologists, educators have shown great
interest in childhood anxiety (see, e.g.. Hade, 1981). The
focus of research in educational settings has primarily been
on the relationship between levels of state anxiety and
children's academic performance. Typically in these
studies, a scale is administered to assess children's levels
of test anxiety (e.g., the Test Anxiety Scale for Children,
Sarason et al., 1958) and subsequent measures of academic
attainment are taken (e.g., Gaudry £ Fitzgerald, 1971;
Spielberger, 1962) The results of such studies suqqest
that the effect of anxiety, particularly test anxiety, is
somewhat variable, showing some children high on test
anxiety scoring higher on tests, with other children high on
test anxiety scoring lower on performance (Gaudry S
Fitzgerald, 1971). In a recent study. Hade (1981) combined
measures of test anxiety with measures of a student's
ability and achievement motivation and looked at their
effects on performance. The results indicated the complex
way in which anxiety interacts with these other factors to
affect performance, showing, for example, higher levels of
attainment for highly anxious, motivated, and able students
than for highly anxious, low motivated.
and highly able


73
students (Wade, 1981). The work on performance anxiety is
relevant to the extent the individual is implicitly
confronted with evaluation from another but limited by not
focusing on the evaluative nature of the performance as a
precursor to the anxiety experience. Furthermore, no
research has directly investigated possible developmental
trends in children's understanding of the self-
presentational issues involved in social anxiety.
Taken together, work on childhood anxiety from both the
clinical and nonclinical perspectives has relevance for the
current study because of the implicit reference to social
psychological processes involved in social anxiety. Bith
regard to conceptualizing social anxiety, these perspectives
at least give credence to the importance of the evaluative
nature of the social environment in producing anxiety
experiences. Also, these perspectives point to the
usefulness of postulating processes of self-presentation in
evaluating the anxiety experience.
Overview and hypotheses
The purpose of the present research was to investigate
the nature and development of children's understanding of
social anxiety in others. Presumably, this understanding
advances through stages during childhood represented by
gualitatively different knowledge systems or schemas about
the role of the self in social interaction. Specifically, a


major qoal was to uncover the different schemas used by
children of different aqes in evaluating actors in
situations that inherently involve self-presentational
74
concerns, in this case, concerns revolvinq around the
experience of social anxiety.
In order to achieve these qoals, definitions and
propositions dealing with self-presentation and social
anxiety have been used to conceptually position the self and
processes of self-understandinq squarely in the focus of
social interaction. There are many instances in which
individuals feel insecure and anxious about the portent of
projecting self-relevant images to others. The aversive
state associated with this low assessment of ones
expectations of a successful self-presentation is at the
heart of social anxiety.
Children from the second, fourth, and seventh qrades
participated in the present study by analyzing stories
involvinq actors in two types of social situations. The
actors were shown with varyinq deqrees of motivation to
impress an audience and varying levels of ability to do so.
They were depicted in both contingent and noncontingent
interactions (making a friend and acting in a play),
children were asked to judge each story characters
experience, for example, assessing how nervous, worried,
shy, and uneasy the character was and how likely he or she
was to act awkwardly, avoid eye contact, and have trouble
communicating.


75
Based on the theories and research discussed heretofore,
it was predicted that
a. A story character presented as being highly motivated
to impress an audience and as low in ability to do so would
be rated as most socially anxious (nervous, worried, uneasy,
and shy). The character rated least socially anxious would
be one who was low in motivation and high in ability. If
subjects accurately track the experience of social anxiety
in others, interactions between motivation and ability would
be produced in line with propositions made by the model.
b. Highly motivated actors with low outcome expectancies
would be rated as more anxious in the noncontingent versus
contingent interaction setting. This would be due to the
increased concerns over the evaluations of a larger audience
and the presumed novelty of these situations for many
school-age children.
c. Due to older children's preference for effort
information in ascribing causes for success or failure and
younger children's preference for past performance
information, older children, who rate an actor as socially
anxious, would cite motivation as the major reason for the
anxiety, while younger children would cite past performance
as the major reason.
d. Older children would be more likely to judge both
actor's motivation and perceived expectancies as important
determinants of social anxiety, while younger children would


76
probably cite only one as important. This would be due to
older childrens recognition of the influence of more than
one cause in producing behavior.
e. Older children would predict decreasing successful
outcomes for increasing social anxiety in actors. Younger
children would be less likely to make this differentiation,
predicting actor success for obtaining the self-
presentational goal, for the most part, at the same level
across all conditions.
f. As ratings of social anxiety increase, children would
predict the actor would probably have trouble communicating,
maintain less eye contact with the other(s), be more
nervous, worried, shy, uneasy, feel less sure about
him/herself, and try to do things to get the audience to
like him/her.
g. Older children would be more consistent than younger
children in their recognition of the relationship between
increasing social anxiety and the measures of an actors
behavior and affective responses.
h. Older children would rate insecure actors as more
socially anxious and be more pessimistic about the actors
success in the interaction than would younger children.
i. Older children would be more consistent than younger
children in responses to items assessing their knowledge of
the recursive nature of thinking.


CHAPTER II
METHOD
Subjects
Subjects were obtained from three elementary schools and
two middle schools in Gainesville: Glen Springs Elementary
School, Marjorie K. Bawlings Elementary School, P.K. Yonge
Laboratory School, Lincoln Middle School, and Fort Clarke
Middle School. Names were obtained of children in three
grade groups: second grade, fourth grade, and seventh
grade. The names were provided by the principals and staff
of the schools and informed consents were gathered from
parents. Because of concern over possible response bias by
nine respondents (5 2nd graders and 4 4th graders), their
data was excluded from the study. As a result, data from
202 subjects was used in the study: 93 second graders (40
males, 53 females; average age 7.30), 65 fourth graders (27
males, 38 females; average age 9.41), and 44 seventh graders
(22 males, 22 females; average age 12.47).
77


78
Procedure
Two viqnettes were written, each depictinq an actor (Dale
or Sandy) in a settinq that could cause the actor social
anxiety. Each actor was described as a student in the same
grade and of the same sex as the subject.
One viqnette (see Appendix A) portrays an actor. Dale, in
contingent interaction with a classmate with the focus beinq
on making friends with the classmate. As discussed
earlier, interaction anxiety is a potential outcome of this
kind of situation. Dale is shown waiting after school for
the school bus when he/she notices a classmate standing
alone. The classmate looks at Dale and Says, "Hello." The
stag is then set for subjects to assess Dale's possible
reactions to the situation.
The second viqnette portrays an actor, Sandy, in a
noncontingent interaction with the qoal of performing in a
play before an audience of classmates. Audience anxiety is
the possible outcome of this situation. Sandy is shown
alonq with an audience of classmates waitinq for the play
and his/her performance to begin. At this point subjects
are asked to assess Sandy's responses to the setting.
Cross-cutting the contingent/noncontingent
classification, the actors are portrayed as having either
low or hiqh motivation to impress the other (s). For
example. Dale either likes the classmate and wants very much
to be friends with him/her (high motivation) or Dale neither


79
likes nor dislikes the classaate and does not really care
whether or not they become friends (low motivation).
Likewise, Sandy either wants very much for the classmates
to like his/her acting (high motivation) or Sandy does not
really care whether his performance is a success or failure
(low motivation). In addition to the manipulation of the
actor's motivation, the actor is depicted as havinq either
high or low ability to successfully perform in the
interaction, i.e., low or high ability to make friends for
Dale and low or high ability to act in the play for Sandy.
For example. Dale either has been able to make friends
easily in the past and thinks he/she can make friends in the
current situation (high ability) or has had difficulty
making friends in the past, and doubts his/her ability to
make friends in this case (low ability). In similar
fashion, Sandy is shown with a record of past success acting
and confidence about the current performance (hiqh ability)
or with a record of past failure at actinq and a lack of
confidence about the upcoming performance (low ability). By
crossinq these factors of motivation and ability it was
possible to see whether children of different aqes related
them in predicting an actor's social anxiety in ways
proposed by Schlenker and Leary (1982).
Each subject was presented with both the contingent and
noncontingent vignettes in counterbalanced order. In both
vignettes the same combination of actor motivation and actor


80
ability was presented. Which combination a particular
subject received was determined by random assiqnment of
subjects to conditions prior to the sessions. The 2X2X2
factorial design, then, had two between-subjects factors
{motivation and ability) and one within-subjects factor
(type of interactioncontinqent/noncontinqent).
Subjects participated individually in sessions of
approximately 20 minutes in length. Eight experimenters
(one male, seven females) were trained in the experimental
procedure and each experimenter was randomly assiqned names
of subjects to interview. The experimenter introduced the
task as one involving listening to a couple of short
stories, then answerinq questions about the stories and the
people in them. Subjects were made to feel as comfortable
as possible and assured that the procedure was in no way a
test, with no "right" or "wronq" answers. The experimenter
then familiarized the subject with the answerinq device to
be used when responding to questions. This device was
constructed usinq a poster-board and drawinq a 10-point
scale on it so as to convey an ascending dimension from 0 to
9. Durinq practice with the device, subjects were
instructed that pointing to or responding with "0" indicated
"no" or "none at all," responding with "1" indicated
"slightly" or "just a little bit," and so forth to
responding with "9" indicating "yes," "extremely so," or "a
great deal." Subjects were asked trial questions in the


81
fora, for example, Do you like ice cream, and, if so, how
much do you like ice cream?" or "Do you like potatoes, and,
if so, how much do you like potatoes?" In pretraining,
questions were asked until subjects had responded across the
full length of the scale, i.e., made responses in the low,
medium, and high ranges.
Once subjects were familiar with the answering device and
comfortable with the experimental situation, the
experimenter read the vignettes to the subject, presenting
the order Dale-then-Sandy to half the subjects and the order
Sandy-then-Dale to the other half. For each vignette the
subject was presented with the introduction plus the
motivation/ability combination followed by the "prompt."
The prompt in Dales story was "The classmate looks at Dale
and says, Hello,'" and in Sandys story was "Everyone in
the audience {all Sandy's classmates) are waiting for the
play to beqin." After a vignette was read, the experimenter
asked the subject if he or she had any questions about the
events of the story.
Following the reading of each vignette, the subjects were
first asked questions about Dales or Sandy's qoals and
expectations with reqard to the situation. These
manipulation check items asked (1) whether and how much
Dale/Sandy wanted the classmate (s) to like him/her, (2)
whether and how much Dale wanted to become friends with the
classmate or Sandy wanted the classmates to like his/her


82
actinq, (3) whether and the deqree to which Dale and Sandy
think they will succeed in makinq friends and actinq well,
respectively, and (4) whether and the deqree to which Dale
and Sandy perceived themselves able to sake friends and act
well, respectively. The subjects* responses to these and
all questions were recorded by fche experiaenter on a
protocol for that subject containinq information about the
subject (sex, age, grade, and school), the viqnettes, and
the questionnaires.
After obtaining responses to the manipulation check
items, the experiaenter continued askinq questions about
whichever vignette had just been read. The questionnaires
for both vignettes were matched itea-for-item, althouqh the
wording was not identical due to the different story
contents. For example, the item for assessinq the
subjects* predictions of the actors success in the Dale
story read, "Do you think Dale will become friends with the
other classmate, and if so, how likely is it that they will
become friends?," while in the Sandy story the item read,
"Do you think the classmates will like Sandys actinq, and
if so, how much do you think they will like his/her
actinq?" In addition to wording differences of the kind
this example illustrates, two items were asked followinq the
Dale story that were not asked followinq the Sandy story,
one askinq if the subject thought Dale would talk to the
classmate and another askinq if the subject thought Dale


83
would saile and be pleasant to the classaate. These
behavioral aeasures were considered pertinent to the content
of the Dale story and indicative of the more spontaneous
nature of the contingent interaction, while they would not
seea naturally occurring in the noncontinqent interaction as
depicted in the Sandy story.
During pilot-testing with subjects froa all three grade
levels, the issue of attention-span was raised, given the
rather lenqthy questionnaires and the inclusion of two
stories. The Dale questionnaire contained 25 items and the
Sandy questionnaire contained 23 items. It was feared that
at some point durinq the questioning, subjects, particularly
younqer ones, might forget the content of the story just
read, become confused, and lose interest in accurate
responding. Although it did not seem to be a qlaring
problem, the decision was made to stop questioning midway
through each questionnaire and to reread that particular
story. The stories were short enough so that rereading them
did not add any significant time to the session, and
hopefully, refreshing the subjects on the story content
maintained their interest and accuracy in responding.
The first question asked following the manipulation check
items was, "Does Dale/Sandy feel nervous, and if so, how
nervous does Dale/Sandy feel?" If a subject responded that
Dale/Sandy did feel nervous in the situation, then the
subject was asked two additional questions about the reasons


84
for the actor*s nervousness. These additional questions
were designed to assess whether the subject thought the
major reason for the actor's being nervous was (1) fear of
being unable to achieve the interaction qoal in the
situation (either makinq friends or performing well in the
play) or (2) because the actor was so notivated to achieve
the interaction goal. If the subject did not think the
actor was nervous (responding with 0) these two questions
were omitted.
The remainder of the items dealt with subjects*
evaluations of the actor in relation to the events of the
story (e.q., does the actor feel uneasy, does the actor feel
sure about what he/she is doing, is the actor worried about
what the classaate(s) is (are) thinking of bin/her?) as well
as aore global judqaents of the actor (e.q., is the actor a
shy person, a good or bad person, a happy or sad person, a
strong or weak person?). In addition, there were a number
of items dealing with behavioral responses the actors could
have made to the situations. For example, items asked
whether subjects thought the actors would succeed in either
making friends or acting well, whether the actors would
have trouble communicating with the classmate(s) whether
the actors would act awkwardly, fidget or squirm, and
whether the actor would aaintain or avoid eye-contact with
the others. Also, items asked if subjects thought the actors
would try to do things to get the classmate (s) to like them.


85
whether the classmate(s) did indeed like them, and whether
the subjects would themselves like them. Finally, subjects
were asked how good or bad they were at making friends and
at acting.
Once both vignettes and guestionnaires had been
administered, subjects were asked if they had any guestions
about the procedures used in the study. At this time,
experimenters explained to subjects the nature of the
research in terms understandable to children, and
experimenters asked subjects guestions about their own
experiences in social situations such as making friends and
acting in a play. The responses to these gnestions were not
obtained for the sake of analysis, but rather to disengage
the subject from the experimental session. Subjects were
asked not to discuss the research with any of their
classmates. Finally, they were thanked for their assistance
in the research and taken back to their classroom.


CHAPTER III
RESULTS
Before sending experimenters into the field, the
protocols used in the study ere pilot tested on five
children from each of the three grades (2nd, 4th, and 7th).
Fron this and from discussions with teachers of students in
these grades, it was determined that the stories used and
the guestionnaires were appropriate to the ages of children
involved.
Data were gathered on characteristics of the subjects
(including sex, age, grade, and school attended) and each
subjects responses to the two guestionnaires (one following
the contingent vignette, the other following the
noncontingent vignette). Initial analysis revealed no
consistent effects of sex of subject or school attended and
will not be discussed further.
The analyses to follow deal with data gathered in
response to the guestionnaires following both vignettes. As
mentioned, the guestionnaires were not identical, with the
one following the contingent (Dale) vignette containing two
more items than the one following the noncontingent (Sandy)
vignette. Because "situation type" is treated as a within-
subjects factor, the two additional items from the Dale
86


87
questionnaire (numbers 12 and 14) are analyzed separately.
Otherwise the items beginninq with number 1 from each
questionnaire are treated as repeated measures, for example.
Dale 1 = Sandy 1, ..., Dale 13 = Sandy 12, Dale 15 = Sandy
13, ..., Dale 25 = Sandy 23. Sublects responses to these
questionnaires were analyzed as they were affected by grade
of subject, level of actor's motivation and level of the
actor's ability. As a result, the reported analyses deal
with a 3 (second/fourth/seventh qrade) X 2 (low/hiqh
motivation) X 2 (low/hiqh ability) X 2
(continqent/noncontinqent interaction) factorial desiqn,
with qrade, motivation, and ability as between-subiects
factors. Given unequal cell sizes, an unweiqhted-means
analysis of variance was employed unless otherwise
specified.1
Manipulation Checks
Motivation Manipulation
The first question asked followinq the readinq of each
vignette was "Does Dale/Sandy want the classmate(s) to like
him/her, and if so, how much does Dale/Sandy want the
classmate to like him/her?" An analysis of variance on this
item revealed a main effect of motivation, F (1,188) =
100.07, £ < .001, indicating that subjects rated the actors
in the low motivation condition as significantly less
* The number of subjects serving in each cell of the desiqn
may be found in Appendix B.


88
wantinq to be liked (M = 6.10) than actors in the hiqh
motivation condition (M = 8.51). Thus, the manipulation
produced the desired effect. While this is so, it is
important to note the ranqe of means produced by the
manipulation (6.10 to 8.51). This ranqe clearly indicates
that even in the low motivation condition, subjects rated
actors as somewhat motivated to impress the other(s) in the
story. The fact that there was no clear differentiation
between low and high motivation suggests that the observed
relationship between motivation and ability is probably
attenuated.2
Further results on this item included a significant main
effect of ability, F (1,188) = 7.20, £ < .008, qualified by
significant interactions between motivation and ability (F
(1,188)
= 4.66,
£ < .04)
and situation and
ability (F
(1,188)
* 4.18,
£ < 05) .
The main effect
showed low
ability actors as less desirous of likinq than hiqh ability
actors (M's = 6.98 and 7.81, respectively). This effect of
ability, however, seemed to be evident only in the low
motivation condition (M's in this condition = 6.68 and 5.51,
respectively, for hiqh and low ability; M's in hiqh
motivation condition = 8.58 and 8.45, respectively for hig
and low ability). In addition, the effect produced by
2 As described throughout these results, main effects,
rather than interactions, are produced involvinq these
factors. While the main effects are consistent with the
predicted relationship, the restricted ranqe of
manipulation means produced few indications of the
multiplicative relationship.


89
ability appeared to reside in the performance (Sandy or
noncontinqent) situation such that hiqh ability actors in
this situation were seen as wantinq to be liked more than
low ability actors (H*s 7.99 and 6.94, respectively).
Furthermore, qiven hiqh ability, an actor in the performance
situation was rated as more desirous of likinq than a
similarly able actor in the friendship (Dale or continqent)
situation (M*s = 7.99 and 7.28, respectively).
A closely related item asked subjects to rate the deqree
to which Dale wanted to become friends with the classmate
and Sandy wanted the classmates to like his/her actinq.
This was a measure of how motivated subjects felt the actors
were to obtain their specific interaction qoals. The
results were strikinqly similar to the previous item,
showinq a siqnificant main effect for motivation, F (1,188),
100.87, £ < .001, with hiqhly motivated actors rated as more
wantinq to achieve their interaction qoals than low
motivated actors (M*s = 8.38 and 5.85, respectively). Also,
as was the case in the prior item a siqnificant main effect
of ability emerqed F (1,188) = 11.49, £ < .001, such that
more able actors were perceived as more hiqhly motivated
(Ms = 7. 55 and 6.69, respectively). Likewise, actors in
the performance versus friendship situation were rated as
more motivated (main effect of situation, F (1,188) = 5.31,
£ < .03; H*s = 7.44 and 6.90, respectively). This effect
was qualified by a siqnificant situation X qrade


90
interaction, F (1,188) = 5.40, ja < .006, showing that actors
in the performance versus friendship story were seen as more
motivated, but only as rated by second qraders (simple main
effect of situation at second grade, F (1,188) = 18.24, s> <
.05; see Table 1).
TABLE 1
Subjects* Batings of Actors* Motivation to Achieve Their
Interaction Goals as a Function of Grade and Situation
Situation
Grade
Friendship Performance
Second
6.60ab 7.86ac
Fourth
7.46b 7.32
Seventh
6.59 6.87c
Note. Means sharing a
common subscript differ by £ < .05.
Ability Manipulation
Subjects were asked
to rate (1) the degree to which
actors were confident
of achieving the goal in the story
(making a friend/acting in the play) and (2) how skillful in
these situations the actors perceived themselves to be
(items 3 and 4). On both items the ability manipulation


91
produced the desired effect as revealed in a significant
ability main effect, F (1,188) = 86.4b, £ < .0001, and F
(1,188) = 242.09, 2 < -0001, respectively. The means for
the first of these items showed that actors portrayed as
able were rated as being more confident than less able
actors of succeeding in this particular setting (M*s = 7.07
and 4.20, respectively). Subjects ratings of the actors*
self-perceptions of general ability (in making friends and
acting) varied with the ability manipulation (H's = 3.49,
and 7.43, for low and high ability, respectively). In
addition, actors shown to be hiqhly motivated were rated as
more confident than less motivated actors shown by a
motivation main effect, F (1,188) = 14.87, £ < .0002 (J5*s =
6.19 and 4.94, respectively).
Analysis of Questionnaire
Measures of Anxiety
Worry.
Subjects were asked to evaluate how worried the actors
were about what the classmate(s) were thinking of him or
her. It was expected that the effects of motivation and
ability on anxiety would be in line with predictions based
on the model. For example, these factors were proposed to
interact to affect measures of social anxiety. While no
motivation X ability interaction was obtained, the results
were consistent with predictions in terms of the importance


92
of aotivation and ability in affectinq responses and the
rank order of aeans. A motivation Bain effect was revealed,
F (1,188) = 10.36, 2 < .002, alonq with a aotivation X qrade
interaction, F (2,188) = 4.78, £ < .01 (see Table 2). In
line with predictions, the means for the aain effect showed
hiqhly motivated actors as more worried than less motivated
actors. A breakdown of the interaction revealed that hiqhly
motivated rather than less motivated actors were rated as
more worried by fourth and seventh qraders. Also, given
high motivation, fourth and seventh qraders rated the actor
as more worried than did second qraders (see Table 2).
These qrade differences also produced a aain effect of qrade
F (2,188) = 5.08, £ < .008. These results suggests that
older children may be more aware of the evaluative nature of
situations such as the ones portrayed here.
As expected, the more able actor was rated as less
worried than the less able actor (F (1,188) = 8.64, £ <
.004; M*s for high and low ability are 4.62 and 5.72,
respectively).
There was some support obtained, however, for the
predicted multiplicative effects of motivation and ability
in a significant four-way interaction of situation X qrade X
motivation X ability, F (2,188) = 4.08, jp < .02. Although a
breakdown of this interaction revealed few significant
simple effects not evident in the effects discussed so far,
the pattern of means suggested that, for example,
the


93
TABLE 2
Subjects' Batinqs cf How Worried the Actors were
as a Function of Grade and Motivation
Motivation
Grade
Low
High Overall
Second
4.72
4.49ab
4.60
Fourth
5.02c
6.31ac
5.65
Seventh
4.76d
6.83bd
5.84
Overall
4. 83e
5. 58e
Note. Means sharing a common subscript differ by £ < .05.
highest rating of worry was made for an actor low in ability
and high in motivation, and this seemed to be most
pronounced in the performance scenario for all grades and in
the friendship scenario for seventh qraders (see Table 3).
Also in line with the model the least worry was assiqned to
actors who were highly able but less motivated, with tbe
exception of second graders in the friendship scenario.
Some support was obtained for the speculation that a
noncontingent interaction may produce more concern over an
audience's evaluation than may be produced by a contingent
interaction. A main effect of situation, F (1,188) = 13.45,


94
TABLE 3
Subjects* Ratinqs of Hon Worried Actors Were as a
Function of Situation, Grade, Motivation, and Ability
Friendship/2nd Grade Perforiaance/2ad Grade
Motivation
Motivation
Ability Low
High Low
High
Low 4.30 3.72 5.61 6.48
High 4.57b 1.95b 4.38 4.58
Friendship/4th Grade Perforance/4th Grade
Motivation
Motivation
Ability
Low
High
Low
Hiqh
Low
5.47a
5.33
5.84d
8.07cd
High
2.64a
6. 06
5.64
5.89c


Full Text

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