Social anxiety and social cognition (review of foreign studies)



This article considers the main directions of research on social cognition in peo ple with high levels of social anxiety. The collated data of studies into social skills, emotional and social intelligence, distortions in the perception of people with high level of social anxiety in social situations, as well as research in the theory of mind. The main focus of research on social cognition with social anxiety, until recently, was aimed at studying the distortion in the perception of social situations and social skills and only in the last decade, began to study other aspects. This article shows a lack of studies on emotional and social intelligence in social anx iety, there is a necessity for further research. The article highlights the contradic tory data, the difficulty of correlating the different components of the process of social cognition.

General Information

Keywords: social anxiety, social perception, social cognition, social skills, emotion al intelligence, social intelligence, Theory of Mind, emotional regulation, emo tional knowledge, cognitive model of social phobia

Journal rubric: Research Reviews

Article type: review article

For citation: Nikitina I.V. Social anxiety and social cognition (review of foreign studies). Konsul'tativnaya psikhologiya i psikhoterapiya = Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy, 2014. Vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 65–79. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Alden L.E., Taylor C.T., Mellings T.M.J.B., Laposa J.M. Social anxiety and the inter pretation of positive social events // Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2008. Vol. 22. Pp. 577—590.
  2. Amir N., Foa E.B., Coles M.E. Negative interpretation bias in social phobia // Behaviour Research and Therapy. 1998. Vol. 36. Pp. 945—957.
  3. Baron-Coen S., Wheelwright S., Hill, J.,Rastle Y., Plumb I. The "Reading the Mind in the Eyes" Test revised version: a study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger syndrome or High functioning autism // Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. 2001. Vol. 42. Pp. 241—251.
  4. Baron R. Baron emotional quotient inventory: Short version — technical manual / Toronto: MultiHealth Systems. 2002.
  5. Battaglia M., Zanoni A., Taddei M., Giorda R., Bertoletti E., Lampis V., et al. Cerebral responses to emotional expressions and the development of social anxiety disorder: a preliminary longitudinal study // Depression and Anxiety. 2012. Vol. 29(1). Pp. 54—61.
  6. Campbell D.W., Sareen J., Stein M.B.,Kravetsky L.B., Paulus M.P., Hassard S.T., Reiss M.D. Happy but not so approachable: the social judgments of individuals with generalized social phobia // Depression and Anxiety. 2009. Pp.1—6.
  7. Christensen N.P., Stein M.B., MeansChristensen A. Social anxiety and interpersonal perception: a social relation model analysis // Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2003. Vol. 41. Pp. 1355—1371.
  8. Clark D.M., Wells A. A cognitive model of social phobia // Social phobia: Diagnosis, assessment, and treatment / In Heimberg R.G., Liebowitz M.R., Hope D.A., Schneier F.R. (Eds.). NewYork: Guilford Press, 1995. Pp. 69—93.
  9. Gilbert P., Trower P. The evolution and manifestation of social anxiety // Shyness and embarrassment: Perspective from social psychology / In Crozier W.R. (Ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Pp.144—177.
  10. Gilbert P.,Trower P. Evolution and process in social anxiety // International handbook of social anxiety / In W.R. Crozier, L.E. Alden (Eds.). Chichester: Wiley, 2001. Pp. 259—279.
  11. Hambel S., Weis S., Hiller W., Witthoft M. The relation between social anxiety and social intelligence: A latent variable analysis // Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2011. Vol. 25. Pp. 545—553.
  12. Hezel D.M., McNally R.J. Theory of Mind Impairments in Social Anxiety Disorder // Behavior Therapy. 2014. Vol. 45. Pp. 530—540.
  13. Hope D.A., Heimberg R.G., Klein J.F. Social anxiety and the recall of interpersonal information // Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy. 1990. Vol. 4. Pp. 185—195.
  14. Horley K.,Williams L.M., Gonsalvez C., Cordon E. Social phobic do not see eye to eye: A visual scanpath study of emotional expression processing // Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2003. Vol. 410. Pp.1—12.
  15. Jacobs M., Snow J., Geraci M., Vythilingam M., Blair R.J.R., Charney D.S., Pine D.S., Blair K.S. Association between level of emotional intelligence and severity of anxi ety in generalized social phobia // Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2008. Vol. 22. Pp. 1487—1495.
  16. Lundh l., Ost L. Recognition bias for critical faces in social phobics // Behaviour Research and Therapy.1996.Vol. 34. Pp. 787—794.
  17. Mayer J.D., Salovey P., Caruso D.R. MayerSaloveyCaruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) / Toronto: MultiHealth Systems, 2001.
  18. Mellings T.M., Alden L.E. Cognitive processes in social anxiety: The effect of selffocus, rumination and anticipatory processing // Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2000. Vol. 38. Pp. 243—257.
  19. Mennin D.S.,Heimberg R.G., Turk C.L., Fresco D.M. Preliminary evidence for an emo tion regulation deficit model of generalized anxiety disorder // Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2005. Vol. 43. Pp. 1281—1310.
  20. Mennin D.S., McLaughlin K.A., Flanagan T.J. Emotion regulation deficits in general ized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and their cooccurrence // Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2009. Vol. 23. Pp. 866—871.
  21. Montagne B., Schutters S., Westenberg H.G., van Honk J. Reduced sensitivity in the recognition of anger and disgust in social anxiety // Cognitive Neuropsychiatry. 2006. Vol. 11. Pp. 389—401.
  22. Philipot P., Douillierz C. Social phobic do not misinterpret facial expression of emo tion // Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2005. Vol. 35. Pp. 639—652.
  23. Plana I., Lavoie M-A., Battaglia M., Achim A.M. A metaanalysis and scoping review of social cognition performance in social phobia, posttraumatic stress disorder and other anxiety disorders // Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2014. Vol. 28. Pp. 169—
  24. 177.
  25. Pozo C., Carver, C.S.,Wellence A.R., Scheier M.F. Social anxiety and social perception: Construing others reactions to the self. // Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. 1991. Vol. 17. Pp. 355—362.
  26. O'Toole M.S., Hougaard E., Mennin D.S. Social anxiety and emotion knowledge: A metaanalysis // Journal of Anxiety Disorders. 2013. Vol. 27. Pp. 98—108.
  27. Sabbagh M.A. Understanding orbitofrontal contributions to theoryofmind reasoning: implication for autism // Brain Condition. 2004. Vol. 55. Pp. 209—219.
  28. Salters-Pedneault K., Roemer L., Tull M.T., Rucker L., Mennin D.S. Evidence of broad deficits in emotion regulation associated with chronic worry and generalized anxi ety disorder // Cognitive Therapy and Research. 2006. Vol. 30. Pp. 469—480.
  29. Schofield C.A., Coles M.E., Gibb B.E. Social anxiety and interpretation biases for facial displays of emotion: emotion detection and ratings of social cost // Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2007. Vol. 45 (1). Pp. 2950—2963.
  30. Schroeder J.L. Interpersonal perception skills: Selfconcept correlate // Perceptual and Motor Skills.1995. Vol. 80. Pp. 51—56.
  31. Simonian S.J., Beidel D.C., Turner S.M., Berkes, J.L., Long J.H. Recognition of facial affect by children and adolescents diagnosed with social phobia // Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 2001. Vol. 32 (2) Pp.137—145.
  32. Stopa L., Clark D.M. Social phobia and interpretation of social events // Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2000. Vol. 38. Pp. 273—283.
  33. Summerfeldt L.J., Kloosterman P.H., Antony M.M., Parker J.D.A. Social anxiety, Emotional intelligence, and interpersonal adjustment // Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. 2006. Vol. 28. Pp. 57—68.
  34. Summerfeldt L.J., Kloosterman P.H., Antony M.M., McCabe R.E., Parker J.D.A. Emotional intelligence in Social Phobia and other Anxiety Disorders // Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. 2011. Vol. 33. Pp. 69—78.
  35. Sutterby S.R., Bedwell J.S., Passler J.S., Deptula A.E., Mesa F. Social anxiety and social cognition: The influence of sex // Psychiatry Research. 2012. Vol. 197. Pp. 242—245.
  36. Washburn D. Theory of mind decoding and reasoning abilities in depression, social phobia, and commorbid condition // Master's thesis. 2012.

Information About the Authors

Irina V. Nikitina, Junior researcher at the state institution " Moscow scientific-research institute of psychiatry", Moscow, Russia, e-mail:



Total: 7094
Previous month: 85
Current month: 50


Total: 1787
Previous month: 16
Current month: 12