Author: Lynne Henderson
Current interest in psychotherapy for shyness began when Phil Zimbardo designed a research study utilizing a simulated prison. He discovered that normal students pretending to be guards and prisoners took on the characteristics of real guards and prisoners in a shocking way. Students eventually gave up basic human rights when they were punished for rebellion, acquiescing to coercive tactics and capricious rules. Zimbardo noticed that these rules and tactics no only inhibited spontaneous behavior, but the students also agreed to do things that were clearly incongruent with their values or even their welfare. He further noticed that they behaved like shy people.