# Genetic Shyness???

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by thecurly1, Aug 9, 2001.

1. ### thecurly1Registered Senior Member

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A few days ago I read a book on shyness saying intrestingly that shy children commonly share these traits: a thin/long face, blue eyes, blond hair among other things.

Does anyone think that shyness is an evolutionary trait or enviromental trait?

3. ### XerxesasdfghjklValued Senior Member

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I used to have blue eyes until I was 3 and had blond hair until I was 8 but since I lost those traits I began to turn into a shy person. I'm not shy anymore, though. But I think shyness is related to a trait that makes people cautious. I am a VERY catious person.

EG my parents told me how I was so cautious my dad had to crawl into the playpen thing with me and teach me how to escape because I just wouldnt leave it.

5. ### HOWARDSTERNHOWARDSTERN has logged out....Registered Senior Member

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Cats get run over. Other cats don't. Cats that get run over before they are mature & able to breed & pass on their genes, have their genetic lines ended. However, the cats that manage to stay out of the path of a moving vehicle may live to pass on their genes to many many offspring. Street smart cats!

<i>That which is successful will continue (& it's lines), while that which is not successful (at surviving long enough to breed) will not have offspring to continue it's failed genetic characteristics.</i><IMG SRC="http://cincinnati.com/broadwayseries/catz_125.jpg">

Traits are passed on genetically as well as psychologically.

7. ### wet1WandererRegistered Senior Member

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Excellent point and it does indeed have some supporting background. Is our world getting shyer? Some how I doubt it.

8. ### TegUnknown CitizenRegistered Senior Member

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I think I am proof that the first statement is false. I have a short/pudgy face, green eyes, and brown hair. I am a person that could be defined as shy. It actually runs in my family.

Traits like these can be followed through genetic lines. I do not think it is fair to say that these traits follow attributes that often have no relation.

9. ### Bebelinakospla.comValued Senior Member

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Genetic shyness?

Not very likely....

I think shyness has much more to do with your social surroundings while growing up. The atmosphere in your home and so. Shyness is just another example of low self esteem.

10. ### felixRegistered Senior Member

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I agree that genetic shyness is not very likely. I don't agree that it's necessarily a sign of low self esteem, though. While low self esteem may result in shyness among other things, but I don't think shyness is a definite identifier of low self esteem.

11. ### glaucontending tangentiallyRegistered Senior Member

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Ahh.. the good old Nature vs. Nurture argument...
Let's think about it this way: what advantage, evolutionarily speaking, would having a tendency to be shy have??
None really.
Shyness leads to certain behavioral patterns, including avoiding the outdoors, poor diet, isolationism, etc. All of which, over the long term (or short if occurring during the growth period) could lead to the manifestations mentioned.

12. ### RiomacleodRegistered Senior Member

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I'm not sure shyness has much to do with a poor diet, or vice versa. The "advantage" of being shy evolutionarily is always watching that new guy in the tribe/village, developing fewer, but deeper bonds to people... also people confuse quietness with being shy... it's really a different thing.

13. ### Greg Bernhardtwww.physicsforums.comRegistered Senior Member

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nah, i'm those characteristics and I'm a wild one

14. ### GRORegistered Senior Member

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Both

Yes, geneticsaffect shyness, so does the enviroment. Which affects shyness more? I dont know... but theres this disorder diagnosed relativeley rescently... Aoscial Anxiety Disorder... scientific name for shyness... theres a drug out... forget what its called, that fixes the chemical disbalance of the disorder... makes you un-shy... hehe... un-shy.... i can think of another substance that does that... hehe

15. ### SeekerOfTruthUnemployed, but LookingRegistered Senior Member

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There have been studies of babies in the past that identified certain babies have a predisposition for meeting new people and either did not get upset or were actually happy when being introduced to new people, while others were predisposed towards being upset by meeting new people. Considering these were very young children, typically younger than 18 months, and as I recall, most younger than 1 year, it tends to rule out the nurture arguement to some extent.

16. ### ImahamsterRegistered Senior Member

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SeekerOfTruth, thanks. I’ve read the same but remembered fewer details.

Is there a gene for shyness? That is, is there a single gene that controls how shy a person is and affects no other physical or psychological traits? Not in this hamster’s opinion.

Genes affect multiple traits and each trait is affected by multiple genes. (The external environment, the cellular environment, and cell specialization also affect gene expression but I digress...)

A few traits such as eye color are strongly connected to a single gene. (Even eye color is dependent on other genes.) But a gene that determines eye color can affect many other traits that aren’t as obvious.

Does evolution select for or against “shyness”? A certain collection of genes increases the tendency for a person to be shy. These genes also affect many other traits. I doubt “shyness” is so important that selection pressure exists for that particular gene combination. Could be but I doubt it. More likely a tendency toward “shyness” depends on other factors such as aggression. Aggression might be related to testosterone level and testosterone level might affect fertility. So “shyness” might show a significant genetic dependence even though “shyness” is not selected for or against. (Aggression is only one example. Shyness could also be associated with pain/pleasure response to social interaction which could relate to endorphin levels and so forth.)

Humans are the learning animals. Very little is hard wired. Genetics may push in a certain direction but what we are is largely learned.

When raised in very similar environments genes may tell the story. With similar genetics the environment dominates. Nature and nurture working together.

At least that’s what Imahamster has learned influenced by his genetic tendencies.

17. ### SeekerOfTruthUnemployed, but LookingRegistered Senior Member

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Imahamster,

I tend to agree with you. I think our genetic traits may set the stage, but by no means prohibit us from changing plays within limitations.

For example, a true hamster may have difficulty becoming our next president, although some may argue that it would have a good chance at wining.

I am sure there are many people out there who may have a genetic predisposition towards shyness, but who have overcome it through consciously decding not to be shy.

18. ### YogamojoHere's lookin' at you...?Registered Senior Member

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Shyness and the genome...

Now that we have decrypted the human genome it is certain that it will not be long before some geneticist discovers whether or not there is some pesky gene that can be responsible for this trait. While this is likely, we should not venture to limit causes for shyness to genetics. Just as there is evidence that certain obsessive/compulsive traits are passed on genetically there is also evidence of this condition forming over the course of someone’s social development. It's a tough subject for experimentation because as far as our control group for acquired social shyness goes we would need half a lifetime to attain our results: observing our subjects as they progress from infancy to maturity. For the genetically acquired shyness all we have to do is wait for our geneticists to come forward with a yay or nay. In the meantime it is probably safe to assume that there is more than one cause for shyness...

Last edited: Jan 10, 2002

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