Shyness refers to the feeling of apprehension, lack of comfort, or awkwardness especially when a person is around other people. 



Also known as diffidence.



Shyness commonly occurs in new situations or with unfamiliar people. 



It can be a characteristic of low self-esteem. 



In its stronger forms of shyness it is usually referred to as social anxiety or social phobia. 



The primary defining characteristic is largely ego-driven fear of what other people will think of a person’s behavior. 



This characteristic results in a person becoming scared of doing or saying things out of fear of receiving negative reactions: laughed at, humiliated, patronized, criticized or rejected. 



Shyness may result in an individual opting to avoid social situations.



Genetic data supports the hypothesis that shyness is, at least, partially genetic., but also there evidence that suggests the environment in which a person is raised can also be responsible for their shyness: includes child abuse, particularly emotional abuse such as ridicule. 



It can originate following an anxiety reaction.



Shyness may causes symptoms of anxiety. 



Social anxiety is a broader than shyness, an often depression-related psychological condition including fear, or worrying about being evaluated by others in social situations to the extent of inducing panic.



It may be a trait, or be related to the environment in which one is raised and their personal experiences. 



Shyness can occur at certain stages of development in children.



Fear is positively related to shyness



Fearful children are much more likely to develop being shy as opposed to children less fearful. 



The serotonin transporter promoter region polymorphism (5-HTTLPR), has been shown to be modestly correlated with shyness in grade school children.



Anout 30% of shyness as a trait is genetically inherited, while the rest emerges as a response to the environment.



Mercury poisoning is associated with


excessive shyness, embarrassment, self-consciousness, timidity, social-phobia and lack of self-confidence.



The prevalence of shyness in some children can be linked to day length during pregnancy.



Particularly during the midpoint of prenatal development, longitudinal data from children living at specific latitudes indicate  a significant relationship between hours of day length during and the prevalence of shyness in children. 



Shyness is 1.52 times greater for children exposed to shorter compared to longer daylengths during gestation.



There is a significant co-variance between the children who presented as being consistently shy over a two-year period, and shorter day length during their mid-prenatal development period. 



About one out of five cases of extreme shyness in children can be associated with gestation during months of limited daylength.



Putative findings suggest that those born at low birth weights are more likely to be shy, risk-aversive and cautious compared to those born at normal birth weights. 



Shyness is most likely to occur during unfamiliar situations.



Shyness in severe cases may hinder an individual in their most familiar situations and relationships as well. 



Shy people avoid situations associated with apprehension to keep from feeling uncomfortable and inept.



Shyness may fade: occuring by adolescence or young adulthood.



In some individuals , shyness may become a lifelong character trait. 



Individuals with shy personalities tend to internalize their problems, or dwell on their problems internally instead of expressing their concerns.



This internalization of problems,  leads to disorders like depression and anxiety.



[14] Humans experience shyness to different degrees and in different areas.



There is a negative relationship between shyness and student classroom performance. 



As Shyness of an individual increases, classroom performance decreases.



Shyness may involve the discomfort in social situations, and feelings of uneasiness. 



It may lead one to feel themselves to be 


boring, or exhibit bizarre behavior in an attempt to create interest, further alienating them. 



Shy people have difficulties in social situations such as smiling, producing suitable conversational topics, assuming a relaxed posture and making good eye contact.



Shyness is perceived more negatively, in societies that value sociability, as 


shy individuals are often act distant during conversations, stand-offish or snobbish. 



Attempts to get shy people out of their shell by being aggressive, or critical, or even encouraging may be unproductive, as  it increases their self-consciousness and sense of awkwardness.



The term shyness includes  timidity, apprehension in meeting new people, bashfulness and diffidence, apprehension and anticipation or intimidation.



It may  mistaken for introversion, a character trait which cause an individual to voluntarily avoid excessive social contact or be terse in communication.



Introversion, however, is not motivated or accompanied by discomfort, apprehension, or lack of confidence. 



Introversion is a personal preference, while shyness stems from distress.



Introverts derive no reward from social situations or may find the input overwhelming, whereas shy people may fear such situations.



Introverts choose to avoid social situations because they derive no reward from them or may find surplus sensory input overwhelming, whereas shy people may fear such situations.



Low societal acceptance of shyness may reinforce a shy or introverted individual’s low self-confidence.



No physiological responses, accompanies socially withdrawn behavior in familiar compared with unfamiliar social situations. 



Cultures that promote collectivism view shyness in a positive way related to compliance with group ideals and self control.



Such cultures perceive shyness/introverted behavior, as a negative and threat to group harmony.



Shy individuals tend to develop low self-esteem in Western cultures while unsociable individuals develop high self-esteem.



Extreme case of shyness is identified as a psychiatric illness: social anxiety disorder.



Extreme shyness affects between 3 and 13% of the population at some point during their lifetime.



Studies of  shy adolescents and university students found that between 12 and 18% of shy individuals meet criteria for social anxiety disorder.



Social anxiety disorder, is a strong irrational fear of interacting with people, or being in situations which may involve public scrutiny, because one feels overly concerned about being criticized if one embarrasses oneself. 



Physical symptoms of social anxiety disorder  include blushing, shortness of breath, trembling, increased heart rate, and sweating and in some cases, apanic attack. 



Shyness, may be associated with many of these symptoms, but at a lower intensity, and frequency.



Shyness does not usually interfere significantly with normal living.



Shy individuals are socially inhibited, manifesting conscious or unconscious constraint of behavior of a social nature. 



Social inhibition has different levels, from mild to severe. 



Being socially inhibited is good when preventing one from harming another.



Being socially inhibited is bad when causing one to refrain from participating in discussions.



Behavioral inhibition predisposes a person to become fearful, distressed and withdrawn in unique situations. 



Behavioral inhibition personality style is associated with the development of anxiety disorders in adulthood, particularly social anxiety disorder.



Cultures place less value on quietness and meekness in social situations, and more often reward outgoing behaviors. 



No correlation of positive or negative features exists between intelligence and shyness.



Children who are shy have a more difficult time expressing their knowledge in social situations, and do not engage actively in discussions and are therefore viewed as less intelligent.



Shyness is associated with more difficulty in learning because of limited engagement.



Shy individuals have a tendency toward self-criticism, and are often high achievers.



Shy  people often make connections to others, often through altruistic behavior.



Shyness perception varies with  differently cultures: 



In cultures that value outspokenness and overt confidence, shyness can be perceived as weakness.



To the unsympathetic observer, shyness  may be mistaken as cold, distant, arrogant or aloof.



In other cultures, shy people may be perceived as being thoughtful, intelligent, good listeners, and as being more likely to think before they speak.



Cultures valuing  autonomy, it is often considered a social dysfunction, a personality disorder or mental health issue. 



Social shyness is evaluated more positively in a collectivistic society, but negatively evaluated in an individualistic society.



Shyness-inhibition is associated with a variety of maladaptive behaviors.



In Eastern cultures being shy and inhibited is a sign of politeness, respectfulness, and thoughtfulness.



In Hispanic culture shyness and inhibition with authority figures is common. 



Cultures in which the community is closed and based on agriculture experience lower social engagement than those in more open communities,


where interactions with peers is encouraged. 



Children in Mayan, Indian, Mexican, and Kenyan cultures are less expressive in social styles during interactions and they spend little time engaged in socio-dramatic activities. 



Self-expression and assertiveness in social interactions are related to shyness.



When one is shy or inhibited one exhibits little or no expressive tendencies.



Being shy and inhibited lessen one’s chances of being assertive because of a lack of confidence.



The Italian culture encourages emotional expressiveness during interpersonal interactions in children, engagement in debates or discussions that encourage and strengthen social assertiveness, and 


independence and social competence.



Being inhibited in the Italian culture is looked down upon and those who show this characteristic are viewed negatively by their parents and peers. 



Peers of shy and inhibited Italian children reject the socially fearful, cautious and withdrawn.



Such children in Italian culture express loneliness and believe themselves to be lacking the social skills needed in social interactions.



Early intervention  exposing shy children to social interactions involving team work, especially team sports, decrease their anxiety in social interactions and increase their all around self-confidence.



Social skills development should be a priority for shy children.





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