People with social anxiety (or social phobia) need to improve their social skills to break the cycle of social rejection, according to recent research published in the British Journal of Clinical Psychology .
Previous research has indicated that people with social anxiety are considered less friendly, less friendly and less comfortable to contact than people who are not as anxious.
People with social anxiety did not perform well in these situations and their poor performance led observers to have negative feelings towards them, leading to rejection.
“The fear of rejection is one of the central issues for people who suffer from social anxiety, but we have found that their anxious behavior causes rejection,” says Marisol Voncken, lead author.
These people would need help finding ways to be less self-centered and should be encouraged to socialize with people with similar characteristics and interests, says Voncken.
Previous studies have shown differences in how the brain responds to facial expressions in people with this disorder, suggesting a greater response to social stimuli in emotion-related regions. The new study shows greater responsiveness to critics.
Karina Blair and her colleagues compared images of brain activity in 17 people with the disorder and 17 people who did not have it. Images were taken while participants were reading positive comments (you are beautiful), negative (you are awful), or neutral (you are a human) about them or someone else (he is handsome).
Participants with social phobia exhibited greater activation in the medial prefrontal cortex (a region related to self-concept) and the amygdala (related to fear, anxiety, and stress response) by reading negative comments about themselves. There was no difference with the comparison group in response to positive and neutral comments or about others.
“Since the regions of the medial prefrontal cortex are involved in self representations (self-concept), it is possible that these regions, along with the amygdala, play a prominent role in the development and maintenance of phobia. and that the pathology in this disorder reflects, at least partially, a negative attitude towards oneself, especially in connection with criticism, “the authors conclude.