"Socializing is my favourite": Analyzing the interplay between shyness, verbal irony use, and stereotype perception

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  • This thesis investigates the relationship between levels of shyness, verbal irony use, and the presence and influence of associated stereotypes. Although recent studies of personality and figurative language have addressed varying research questions, there has been little direct exploration of the relationship between adult shyness and verbal irony production, with no examination of the existence and potential influence of an associated stereotype. This study begins research in this area, hypothesizing that shy individuals report higher verbal irony use than non-shy individuals, and that there is an associated stereotype which affects this relationship. Self-report surveys were used to measure verbal irony usage, shyness levels, and other cognitive variables, including personal and perceived cultural attitudes towards shyness and verbal irony, and the perception of a societal relationship. Participants’ basic demographic and family, language, and cultural background were also collected. The results indicate a mixed stereotype perception; the correlation direction and significance between participants’ self-reported shyness and verbal irony usage robustly matches those of their perceived societal relationship, suggesting a stereotype effect. No correlation was found between shyness and verbal irony for those reporting no societal relationship, nor in the sample population as a whole. This study’s findings suggest an interaction between levels of shyness, verbal irony usage, and stereotype perception, providing new insight into verbal irony use as it relates to cognitive and social variables. The results allow further investigation of the stereotype effect’s causal direction, motivations for shy adults’ levels of verbal irony use, and what contributes to perceptions of a stereotype.

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  • Type of Item
    Research Material
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International