Friday, July 8, 2016
Calling a horse a zebra doesn’t make it one
PickTheBrain calls itself:
“...one of the fastest growing and most trusted self improvement websites & communities on the web.”
On June 30th Jose Hamilton posted there about 3 Public speaking Brain Hacks From A Psychiatrist. Those three were to:
1] Change your thoughts
2] Learn to relax
3] Face your fear
But one paragraph there claimed that:
“....Research show that 48% of the American population has some degree of public speaking fear, and a survey from Harvard Medical School estimates that the lifetime prevalence of extreme public speaking fear, characterized as social anxiety disorder, is 12.1%.”
When I followed his link to the SOCIAL ANXIETY ULTIMATE GUIDE page on his Youper web site and looked under the heading How common is social anxiety disorder? I found a different version of that paragraph. He kept those two percentages but changed what they referred to. Now the word shyness was substituted for the phrase public speaking fear:
“Research show that 48% of the American population has some degree of shyness, and a survey from Harvard Medical School estimates that the lifetime prevalence of extreme shyness, characterized as social anxiety disorder, is 12.1%.”
Which is correct for the 48%? It is shyness. The Social Anxiety Ultimate Guide refers to a 1995 article in Psychology Today magazine by Carducci and Zimbardo titled Are You Shy? which much more vaguely says that:
“Research in my laboratory and elsewhere suggests that, courtesy of changing cultural conditions, the incidence of shyness in the U.S. may now be as high as 48% - and rising.”
What about the more precise 12.1%? That is correct for social anxiety disorder, but is too high for extreme public speaking fear (phobia), and instead should be 10.7%.
Another section in his SOCIAL ANXIETY ULTIMATE GUIDE is titled What situations that commonly provoke anxiety? IT contains an online survey you can take that asks about 15 different situations. But, it doesn’t mention that most of those situations were covered in the National Comorbidity Survey - Replication (NCS-R) and discussed back in 2008 in a detailed magazine article. There is data for both fears and phobias, which I discussed in a blog post on October 11, 2011titled What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia? In another post on August 12, 2015 titled There’s really no mystery about how common stage fright is I discussed exactly what the question in that article was regarding Public speaking/performance.
The zebra image is from Wikimedia Commons.