Al Bardi, Associate Professor of Psychology, and Michael Brady '09 studied the motives for using instant messaging by shy people.
Existing research suggests shy people may satisfy their afﬁliation needs through computerized forms of communication such as instant messaging (IM). Fifty-ﬁve undergraduates completed an IM use index, the Cheek and Buss (1981) shyness scale and a motives for IM use scale developed for this study. It was found that the strongest motives for IM use were to increase personal contact as opposed to gain social ease or to decrease loneliness. While a direct association between shyness and IM use intensity was not found, shyness was associated with using IM to decrease loneliness in comparison to other motives. It was concluded that shyer people have multiple motives for using IM, but that decreasing loneliness is particularly important for them. Future research could examine how IM and other computerized communications compare to face-to-face interactions between shy and non-shy people. [Journal abstract]
Bardi, C. A., & Brady, M. F. (2010). Why shy people use instant messaging: Loneliness and other motives. Computers in Human Behavior, 26, 1722-1726.