Report on a presentation at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Social Psychology
"Japan–US comparison of self-theory of shyness"

I participated and gave a presentation together with Dr. Aikawa and fellow researcher Mr. Sawaumi at the 58th Annual Meeting of the Japanese Society of Social Psychology (JSSP) held from October 28 to 29, 2017, at Hiroshima University.


Although the meeting was held during a typhoon, the wind and rain had stopped by the time we boarded the return train on the second day, and we were able to travel home safely. We greatly appreciated that the JSSP’s website and Twitter account were regularly updated with useful information for participants, including directions to the venue, distribution of lunch, and reports about the typhoon. The directions provided were especially helpful because traveling to Hiroshima University requires a 40-minute train ride from Hiroshima Station followed by a 20-minute bus ride (and not as many trains and buses run there as in Tokyo).


On October 29, I gave a presentation on research conducted by CRET Aikawa Lab entitled, "Japan–US comparison of self-theory of shyness." A self-theory of shyness expresses an individual’s beliefs as to whether or not shyness can be changed. The theory measures shyness through asking how much you agree with statements such as "you can change your shyness through your efforts" and "shyness is something you were born with, so it is difficult to change." Previous studies have shown that, even among people who score their own shyness as high, those who think that they can change their level of shyness will more actively try to interact with others than those who think they cannot change. In other words, it is possible to decrease an individual’s shyness by teaching him or her that "the nature of shyness can be changed through their own effort" in addition to other training exercises (e.g., social skills training).


Our presentation compared Japanese and American perspectives on shyness. We found that Americans were more likely than Japanese to regard shyness as “something that can be changed.” This may be because Americans behave more positively in social interaction scenes than Japanese that they can reduce their shyness. We received various opinions and questions from our audience, such as about the possibility of other interpretations, how we would link this outcome to our future research, and whether we think self-theory can be adapted to other personality traits. Through these discussions, we developed ideas for future research, which made the presentation fruitful. I would like build upon this experience in my future activities.


I first met my research team colleague, Mr. Sawaumi, at the JSSP meeting eight years ago. We clicked with each other then and have been conducting research together ever since. Academic meetings like this one provide us with a valuable opportunity not only to present our research results but also to update our knowledge and meet up with researchers who have a similar way of doing. Therefore, I would like to continue to pursue opportunities to participate in academic meetings like this in the future.


Japan–US comparison of self-theory of shyness

(Tsutomu Inagaki, Takafumi Sawaumi, and Atsushi Aikawa)


(Tsutomu Inagaki, CRET Researcher)

Tsutomu Inagaki (Fujii)

CRET Researcher / Lecturer, Kagoshima University


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Areas of Reasearch in CRET

This laboratory conducts research on test evaluation and analysis. We also perform joint research and exchange programs with overseas testing research institutes.

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This laboratory conducts research and development into testing approaches that measure communication skills, teamwork skills, and social skills, etc.

Dr. Atsushi Aikawa

Faculty of Human Sciences,
University of Tsukuba
Ph.D. in Psychology

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This laboratory conducts research on the foundation of computer-based testing, and basic research on media and recognition, as well as applied and practical research
that utilize such knowledge.

Dr. Kanji Akahori

Professor Emeritus of
Tokyo Institute of

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