The term ‘social anxiety’ was first put forward by Janet in 1903 to define people who fear being watched while speaking and usually experience extreme fear, apprehension, and nervousness in social interactions (Butler & Mathews, 1993). Individuals experiencing social anxiety normally fear being judged negatively or get embarrassed in front of other people. Physical signs of social phobia are alike to those of other forms of anxiety attack (Clark, 2001; Rapee & Heimberg, 1997). For example, the individuals may experience manifestation of the autonomic nervous system arousal such as sweating, racing heart, trembling, stomach butterflies, clammy hands, and a general sense of sickness (Leary & Kowalski, 1995). Occasionally, such people may experience panic attacks or become unconscious, which can lead to significant discomfort and humiliation to an extent that it affects the individual’s capability to perform tasks normally in a social setting with several people (Clark, 2002).
One very common type of such anxiety is the performance anxiety, also referred to as stage fright. The circumstance of performance usually elicits extreme anxiety that significantly hampers the individual’s ability to execute a task that one under normal circumstances would find very easy to carry out when none is watching. Cognitively, social phobia concerns the feeling of being viewed or judged negatively by others and a fear of being ashamed in public (Sampl & Kadden, 2005; Richards, 2012). When people experience anxiety, their minds go blank and become confused. To avoid the embarrassment, such people often evade the social situations and this always results into poor self-esteem and even worse depression (Ryon, 1982). In addition, social phobia is also a secondary feature to several types of neurodiversity, particularly the Asperger’s and dyspraxia, which involves difficulty in understanding of social states and finesses in communication (Clark, 2001; Lane, Nadel & Ahern, 2000). Individuals experiencing neurodiversity may show some kind of impairment that may in turn increase self-consciousness to a magnitude that causes anxiety, especially when such people think that they are the point of focus.