If you have been shy all your life, then it is easy to believe that shyness could be genetic. For example, I used to be shy as far back as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of hiding behind my mother’s leg when guests came over to visit. That’s how shy I was!
But then there are other cases. Many people find that they were never shy as a child, but as they become teenagers or adolescents, they start becoming more withdrawn and introverted. Some people may see this happening and say it’s a “phase” they’re going through, but often these changes stay with someone even as they become an adult.
Is shyness genetic?
So what’s the answer? Is shyness genetic or a personality trait or something else altogether? Many people think that shyness is just something someone is born with, like their eye color or height. However, new scientific evidence proves otherwise.
What scientists and psychologists have discovered is that shyness is not genetic in the sense that it is engrained into your genes. If a scientist were to look into your DNA, they would not find a “shy gene” that makes you the way you are. So shyness is not genetic in the way most people would assume.
However, scientists have also found that your genes may have had a role to play in causing your shyness. Some people may have a certain gene that makes it easier for them to eventually become shy. The catch is, they only become shy when their gene is combined with a variety of other environmental factors.
Let me explain this in more detail. Whenever someone asks a question about the cause of their shyness, it’s always tricky to answer. The reason why is that shyness does not have one single cause like many diseases would. Shyness is multi-determined, which means that several different factors must work together to cause it in a given person.
Some of the factors in causing shyness are genetic, they are things you are born with. Other factors are environmental, for example: what your parents were like, your early childhood experiences, the culture you grew up in, etc. Although some people may be more likely to become shy because of a part of their genes, this does not mean that they will become shy for sure. It also means that someone without the “shyness causing gene” may also become shy if put into the right environment.
Although genetic factors do come into play when causing shyness, it doesn’t mean that shyness is a part of your genes like most people would assume. Your shyness is not permanent and can be overcome regardless of your biology.