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Shyness and psychological imperialism; on the dangers of ignoring the ordinary language roots of the terms we deal with

Harris, P.R. (1984) Shyness and psychological imperialism; on the dangers of ignoring the ordinary language roots of the terms we deal with. European Journal of Social Psychology, 14 (2). pp. 169-181. ISSN 0046-2772

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Abstract

Shyness is one of a class of psychological terms that have their roots in ordinary, everyday language. Accordingly, researchers are obliged either to base their definitions of shyness on a thoroughgoing analysis of the conditions prescribed socially for the use of the term and its derivatives, or to otherwise maintain a rigorous distinction between their use and the lay person's use of the term. Unfortunately, however, they have failed to do this. The consequences of this are outlined, including the doubtful practice of Psychological Imperialism, in which psychologists effectively superimpose their professional definitions of psychological constructs upon those developed by the lay person. The implications of this argument for the conduct of future research into shyness are discussed, and it is suggested that researchers dealing with like terms in other areas of psychology should also be alert to these dangers.

Item Type: Article
Institution: The University of Sheffield
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Department of Psychology (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Miss Anthea Tucker
Date Deposited: 20 Oct 2009 15:12
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2009 15:12
Published Version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ejsp.2420140204
Status: Published
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
Identification Number: 10.1002/ejsp.2420140204
URI: http://eprints.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/9956

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