Secrets of the Shy
Many children who are shy grow up to be shy adults. Shyness has always been seen as a personality trait, something that can be helped with enough social intervention. Many believe that shy people are just introverts. However, many introverts just prefer to be alone, and are not shy at all. Now, doctors around the United States have found that shyness can often be due to biological differences.
Dr. Marco Battaglia of San Raffaele University in Italy conducted a research on shy third and fourth-grade children. He recorded brain activity, and found that the more shy the child, the lower the level of activity in the cortex, which is where sophisticated thought presides. Shy children therefore are less skilled in reading facial patterns, which others may use as a social cue. Perhaps this inability makes for self-perpetuating shyness as shy individuals, feeling awkward in social circumstances are only made to feel more awkward because of their inability to detect social clues that may add meaning to relationships.
Another study showed that shyness may also be a product of genes.
Saliva samples from shy children were analyzed. The results showed that shy children had one to two shorter copies of a gene that codes for the flow of a chemical that plays a role in anxiety, depression, etc. Environment can change the genetic inclination towards shyness. Most children who are born shy stay shy for the majority of their lives.
Although shyness may seem like a medical condition, there are many ways to get treatment for shyness. However, studies have shown that shy children tend to do better in school and are less involved in illegal actions. The seeming contradiction of these two studies most likely will be reconciled in the area of determining what makes for shyness and what makes for introversion. The determination of this will allow scientists to better determine what is a biological and what is a psychological condition of the mind.