In treating social anxiety — discomfort or fear in social situations, often of being judged — both relaxation techniques and exercise have been found beneficial.
New research from Queen’s University suggests this is because it changes the way people perceive the world (Heenan & Troje, 2014).
In the study, participants watched a point-light display of a human figure walking.
The figure walked in such a way that it’s difficult to tell whether it’s coming towards you or going away.
Socially anxious people, though, show a bias towards perceiving the figure as coming towards them, since this is more threatening.
Participants in this study were shown the walking figure sometimes after they’d performed a muscle relaxation technique, other times after some exercise and other times after standing still.
The study’s lead author, Adam Heenan, explained the results: Continue reading.
Originally posted on PsyBlog.
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