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Public Speaking Phobia
Rasneeth Sareen
Psych 504
8/27/2012
Dr. V

Public Speaking Phobia
Public speaking phobia is an intense and irrational fear of experiencing judgment by others when speaking in front of public or being embarrassed or humiliated in such situations causing dread, panic, and avoidance (Teachman, 2010). More accurately, it is not the scrutiny and negative judgments themselves but the speaker’s own emotional response to them; the feeling of shame, rejection or humiliation that causes intense fear in the speaker. Sufferers recognize that their fear is excessive or unreasonable but they feel powerless to do anything to change their responses (Teachman, 2010). Therefore, the feared situation – such as presentations, speeches, and meetings are avoided or else endured with intense anxiety or distress. In Bill’s situation, he suffers from intense fear of intense fear of public speaking and finds new ways of avoiding situations that involve speaking in front of audience, until his recent promotion at work.

In work situations the fear most commonly occurs around formal presentations and meetings, which is similar in Bill’s case. He has dreaded public speaking in high school, and avoided public speaking classes in college. Bill’s phobia of public speaking can be explained by a natural reflex (anxiety, and fear) in response to a stimulus (public speaking), this concept is known as Classical Conditioning (“Behaviorism”, 2011). Classical conditioning occurs, when a stimulus (possibly a conditioned stimulus, CS) elites and unconditioned response (US), or a reflex. Conditioning stimulus (CS) is ignited through environmental factors, in Bill’s case the CS could be people cracking jokes, or incorporating humor during Bill’s speech can stimulate a natural response or reflex (US) such as shame, and embracement in Bill. According to classical conditioning, Bill’s phobia is a learned behavior that could date back to a time in which he incurred a similar...
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