Stage Fright and Self-Regard

  • O. Hobart Mowrer
Part of the Cognition and Language book series (CALS)


It is the main thesis of this paper that if dishonesty and secret guilts make people “uneasy” with others (lest their secrets be detected), it follows that such uneasiness will be accentuated before an “audience. “ But thus far we have cited only informal evidence that dishonesty and guilt-riddenness are the predominant characteristics of so-called neurotic and functionally psychotic persons. At this point, it is therefore appropriate to call attention to a monograph entitled “New Evidence Concerning the Nature of Psychopathology” (Mowrer, 1968), in which upwards of a dozen empirical investigations are reviewed, all of which show that on a scale of “socialization,” the neurotic, while not falling as low as the sociopath, is considerably lower than the normal person. This finding is at variance with Freud’s widely accepted theory that the neurotic is the most highly socialized (inhibited) type of person, the sociopath the least socialized, with the normal person falling somewhere in between. Hence, the theory that stage fright is simply an augmentation of one’s fear of having one’s concealed misdeeds discovered when many people are looking at and watching one.


Personality Disorder Normal Person Public Speaker Main Thesis Identity Crisis 


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  1. Mowrer, O. H. New evidence concerning the nature of psychopathology. In M. J. Feldman (Ed.), Studies in psychotherapy and behavior change. Buffalo, N. Y.: University of Buffalo Press, 1968.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. Hobart Mowrer
    • 1
  1. 1.University of IllinoisChampaign-UrbanaUSA

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