I think it is a very interesting point, Dory. Certainely worth some serious research.
I personnally have a bad case of performance anxiety. I have not played in public for a very long time. But recently I realise something about me that can explain the severity of my stage fright, and on a more general base why some people has more problems with it than others. When I saw my doctor this year I told him about my hyperhydrosis problem (excessive sweat production). I had that problem all my life, but now it is worse, probably because of the Trintellix and Concerta I take (drugs known to worsen the condition). I explained him how and in which occasions it can be triggered, and other symptoms that sometimes come with it. He then told me "vous êtes très sympathique". First I understood "you are very nice" but he said it means that my sympathic system is very sensitive. More recently I made a little oral presentation, very friendly, in front of very few people, and normally I really like to do presentations like that but I had not done any for a long time. It was really ridiculous, I was short of breath and shaking! Then I understood everything. I have a hypersensitive sympathic system, which litterally means I physiologically overreact to adrenalin..... On very rare occasions (one pharmacy exam to try it, then one concert) I tried a beta-blocker (propranolol 10mg) and it did marvels: at that dose all the emotions, including performance anxiety, were there, but no shortness of breath, no shaking, no light head, no heart pounding in my ears, no tingling in my face and my capacity to focus my brain remained there. I am not suggesting that everyone with performance anxiety should take it, absolutely not, but it may help some mutants like me.
That long story is just to suggest that part of the interindividual difference on the severity of performance anxiety may be related to the way the body respond to adrenalin.
Benoît Raby, Engelmann sp/Ziricote
11-strings alto guitar by Heikki Rousu, sp/indonesian RW