This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Debate Over Shyness Being Attributed to Nature Rather than Nurture

downloadDownload printPrint

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay. We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

Download PDF

Children and youth as individuals grow and develop differently based on various factors and implications that make them who they are. In discussing the age old debate of nature versus nurture, it is our goal to provide factual information that provides to the understanding of shyness being attributed to nature rather than nurture. In reviewing the concepts of the course, specifically focusing on the development of children and youth, we aim to provide reasoning for shyness being attributed to nature, as well as taking an in depth look at answering some of the questions that came up during the debate. In discussing the topics of genetics, development and evolution, we aim to provide significant evidence that proves nature should be attributed to shyness.

In first selecting a side of this debate, it is important to know what each side stands for. In conducting research for this debate, it was really important for us to have a clear understanding of the difference between nature and nurture. The nature side of this debate is defined as the biological and genetic aspects that are predisposed and innate within a human’s life whereas the nurture aspect of the debate looks at the environmental influences of the individual. There is a common disagreement between the significance between the two sides in relation to how children develop, specifically the attribution to shyness within an individual child. In taking a stance on this debate, the given readings analyzed both sides and provided a greater understanding toward nature being attributed to shyness. Philosophers such as Plato and Descartes provide support toward the understanding that certain behaviours occur naturally as they are innate within an individual’s life. These philosophers also address the idea that these behaviours occur regardless of the nurturing influences. When looking at the influence that nature plays on an individual’s behaviour, there are 3 main points and pieces of evidence that should influence the decision of shyness being attributed to nature.

Within our debate, we first presented the significance of genetics. Within the article, A Twin study of Anxiety-related Behaviours in Preschool Children, researchers were looking to connect the understanding of genetics in relation to anxiety related behaviors within twin pairs. Within the study, the researchers analyzed 4,564 pairs of twins and their parents from the time they were 18 months to 4 years old. At each milestone, the researchers used 5 variability factors; general distress, separation anxiety, fears, obsessive- compulsive behaviours and shyness and inhibition to gauge and find a testable pattern where their children were displaying this anxiety based behaviour. As a result, the researchers found that the shyness and inhibition factor reported 64% heritability as the children were predisposed to this kind of behaviour from their parents. In looking at the connection to genetics, the authors state that, “studies of preschool age children have tended to demonstrate moderate to high genetic influence” (Eley, T.C., et al. 2003, pg 947), leading to the understanding that shyness has a large genetic component, leaning toward the nature side of this debate.

The second aspect that we looked at was the connection between nature and development. Development influences and creates individual traits in children. In the article A Prospective Longitudinal Study of Shyness from Infancy to Adolescence: Stability, Age-Related Changes, and Prediction of Socio-Emotional Functioning, the researchers looked at the changes that were related to age and the stability of shyness from the time of childhood throughout their developing lives. Within the study, 921 children were monitored from age 1.5 to 12.5. At five different points within the study, parents were required to report any shyness-related behaviour or observations that they made of their child. From the results of the study they found that shyness showed reasonable stability over time, but had fluctuations across age, sample characteristics, and time intervals between assessments. From this they concluded that if a child is shy during the time of their childhood, the shyness tends to be stabilized as they develop. The study also stated that 61% of adolescents who had been shy as toddlers showed signs of social anxiety as they grew older. From this we can see that a child’s natural development and age can regulate the different challenges that come from shyness and how they are expressed as the child develops.

In consideration with genetics and development in connection to shyness, the third point of this debate was the understanding of evolution. All individuals who display initial signs of shyness and/or anxiety, experience it through evolution. Drawing off of Darwin’s Evolution by Natural Selection, certain traits pass through our genes and are not at all connected to our survival our nurturing environment. Through evolution, our genes influence our initial anti-social behaviour. Within the article, On the bifurcation of temperamental shyness: Development, adaptation, and neoteny, the authors discuss the importance of looking at the nature of an individual’s biology before looking at the nurturing aspects. This article also addresses the importance of genetics and development in connection to the individual’s biology and their varying genotypes and phenotypes. In looking at a genotype more specifically, without that gene already in a person’s coding, they are never able to display it, providing evidence to the greater knowledge of nature being attributed to shyness as everything is initially dependent on biology.

After reviewing the questions asked within our debate and consulting further research, these select questions we will discuss provided a greater understanding of the topic. The first question that allowed us to think more critically about the topic was, “How would you explain a shy child whose parents and/or family are not shy and don’t have shy genetic makeup?” According to Schmidt, L. A., Fox, N. A., Rubin, K. H., Hu, S., & Hamer, D. H. (2002), the authors state that there is a large genetic component associated with the way the children are predisposed and specific behaviours and traits, specifically shyness and aggression. This predisposition occurs within a child’s dominant and recessive genes furthering the understanding of genetics and evolution in connection to how children experience an attribution to shyness. To answer the question posed within the debate, the article states that an individual child may not present these behaviours from their parents, otherwise known as their dominant alleles. Instead, a child may present these behavioural traits through their recessive alleles, meaning that they could be presenting these behaviours from a genetic trait that is hereditary, and/ or existed within the lives of the individual’s relatives, for example their grandparents or great grandparents. This idea of recessive alleles are not always initially understood by parents involving their child’s differing behaviours and attribution to shyness and parents find it difficult to understand that these behavioural traits exist through genetics.

This understanding is also found within the Genes and Neural Development lecture where there was a large discussion over the idea of genes and the interplay between how our behaviours and genetics are expressed as individuals. Specifically, within lecture the class looked at the differences between dominant and recessive alleles and how they can influence an individual’s development in connection to their appearances, behaviours and physical traits. This understanding ties back to the Molecular Genetics of Shyness and Aggression in Preschoolers article (Schmidt, L. A., et al. 2002) as it reflects the views of both our lecture presentation as well as our stance on the nature aspect of shyness being attributed to nature rather than nurture. With this research and new found understanding of how these genes can create meaning behind the various behavioural traits exhibited by children and youth, we can better understand how nature is attributed to the development and genetic attribution to shyness.

The second question that helped further our understanding of the topic was, “In regards to children who may not be in contact with their parents (biological) how could you explain shyness and its degree for those children who do not have much background on their genetics?” In our research it was found that shyness is attributed to a gene that is passed on from a child’s biological parents. According to Schulkin, J., Gold, W. P., McEwen, S. B. (1998), when a gene is passed on to a child, the trait can be expressed. Genes are expressed naturally whether the child is aware of the genes that they have or not. This can lead us to the conclusion that whether a child is aware of their biological parents’ genetic background or not does not affect the fact that the child has the gene. Although shy children can be raised by other adults who do not display traits of shyness, the gene that is apart of the child’s biological makeup will be expressed without thought of expressing that gene (Volk, T. 2019). Within the article it is stated that children who are fearful and who have anxiety have a genetic makeup which allows them to express these emotions and traits. A child who is shy often later in development shows signs of anxiety and fear and this can be explained through their genetic makeup of the child and how that gene must be apart of their biological makeup in order for it to be expressed.

The third question that was posed to us during the debate that provided a significant understanding of nature being attributed to shyness was, “In your article, it talks about how there is growth in shyness in children within the first 4 years of the child’s life. How could you explain this growth from a nature argument?” In first analyzing this question, our first interpretation of the answer was to connect this question to our understanding of social learning theory. Social learning theory is a theory derived from Albert Bandura that focuses on how individuals learn and adapt to their social contexts as well as how these individuals differ in how they learn. An example of this, as discussed in lecture is how a teenager may use different language and approaches while dealing with various individuals and contexts within their lives. If a teenager is talking to a friend who is of their same age, they may use more slang terms and talk about things relative to a teenager’s life and experiences. On the other hand, if a teenager was speaking with their grandmother, they may be more likely to speak in full sentences and use language that would make sense to their grandmother. If the teenager saw their friend doing something or behaving in a particular manner and viewed their grandmother’s behaviours comparatively, the individual would be more likely to value or use the basis of the friend to conceptualize their own behaviours.

Although this may present itself as being more connected to the nurture side of the debate, there are many nature and biological related factors that influence this social learning theory. First and foremost, as presented within our initial debate, these nurturing environments do not affect an individual the same way unless there is already a biological or genetic component present within the individual. In connection to the initial question posed within the debate, this correlation is present as a child’s initial predisposition to this shy behaviour is already present within their genes and develops with the individual over time as a consequence of the genetic influence. In discussing this argument, The Impact of Prenatal Parental Locus of Control on Children’s Psychological Outcomes in Infancy and Early Childhood: A Prospective 5 Year Study, supports the claim that the biological influence is attributed to these behavioural traits as they exist within our genetics and prenatal development. Within the article, the authors discuss the idea that the behaviours that are expressed by an individual are a product of their genetics as they are predisposed to these behaviours from their parents. Specifically, the authors stress the idea of prenatal development and how these behavioural traits will be encoded within a child’s DNA before they are even born. This means that before any environmental factors come into play, a child is predisposed and will already inherently exemplify these behavioural traits based on their genetics. In doing this, the authors also present the idea that parents of an individual child should be able to predict these behavioural traits within their child based on their own genes and behavioural traits.

The fourth question asked was, “Do you think at a certain age that nurture is more influential in shaping a child rather than nature, because of school/church/sports? Although both play a role, one could argue that nurture is more influential at a later age. How would you disprove this?” When first thinking about and answering this question, the first idea that came to mind was the fact that children cannot express certain traits without biologically having those genes in their biological makeup. Although a child’s environment can influence certain development in a child, without first having the biological makeup to develop and express certain traits, the child would not be able to express different things. This comes to show that children can be affected by social settings such as school, church, or sports, but in order to be affected by them in certain ways that affect development, they must carry the genes first in their biological makeup. Although it is clear to see that at a certain age children start to become more social and are exposed to different social interactions and settings, it is important to take into consideration that how a child reacts and responds to these certain interactions is based on the genes that were passed onto the child from their parents. Depending on the genes that they have, the child may be very outgoing or shy. Without having certain genes, the child will not express certain traits even if they are put into a situation which could alter and influence the development for another child. From this we can see that it all stems back to the biological makeup of a child. On the other hand, a child may have a certain gene and may never express it if they are never exposed to a situation which would cause the gene or trait to be expressed. Further information on this topic is present within the article, Nature vs. Nurture is Nonsense: On the Necessity of an Integrated Genetic, Social, Developmental, and Personality Psychology, where it is stated that looking at a child’s genetics is necessary when dealing with development. It is explained that in order to understand a child’s social behaviours and their environment, their genetics must be taken into consideration. There is research that informs us that genes not only affect our personalities, it also affects how we interact within the social world. This leads to the results that important events that occur during a child’s life that alter and change the way they develop can all be explained by genetic variance.

An example of genetic variance can be seen within siblings who have the same parents. The genes that each sibling obtains is from the same set of parents but depending on which genes that each child receive from the parents the children will behave and react differently in certain social situations and interactions. Although the siblings may be exposed to the same environments and situations, one of the siblings could be shy and react to social situations negatively, while the other sibling could be very outgoing and could thrive in social situations. With this example, we can see that children can be exposed to the same social environments but depending on their biological makeup, can be affected differently and can affect their development more or less. In relation to shyness, a child can show expressions of shyness when exposed to certain situations and environments such as school, church, and sports. Although the situation may trigger a child to be shy, it is important to understand that the child would not be displaying shyness within those social situations and environments without having the actual gene within their biological makeup. As children grow older, they are exposed to more social interactions and environments but, no matter the age of the child, the child will only react and behave certain ways in social settings depending on their genes.

This debate has helped us to further our understanding of how the aspect of nature is attributed to shyness, rather than nurture. In looking at the fact based evidence supported within our side of the debate, the understanding of nature as being the initial and most important contributor to shyness is clear. It is important to acknowledge the biological aspects of the individual and how this can be associated with the three components of genetics, development, and evolution. The genetics that people acquire are subjected to them from before they are born and are influenced and displayed through the development of the child. Evolution has an influence on both the genetics and development of the child and the focus of biology rather than than the environment. We were also able to further our knowledge on this topic through the questions asked within the debate by our classmates. From the questions, we were able to find research on how recessive genes play a role in the traits that a child may have. We also explored how genes are expressed naturally even if the child is unaware of the genes obtained from their biological parents. It was also seen that a child must have the genes to express certain traits of shyness, etc. in social settings and interactions. From this information, we can round off our argument that in order for any other influences to exist and attribute to shyness, it must first and foremost be initiated by the nature aspect of a child’s biological makeup.

Remember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

experts 450+ experts on 30 subjects ready to help you just now

delivery Starting from 3 hours delivery

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

The Debate Over Shyness Being Attributed To Nature Rather Than Nurture. (2021, May 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 25, 2021, from
“The Debate Over Shyness Being Attributed To Nature Rather Than Nurture.” GradesFixer, 14 May 2021,
The Debate Over Shyness Being Attributed To Nature Rather Than Nurture. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Oct. 2021].
The Debate Over Shyness Being Attributed To Nature Rather Than Nurture [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 May 14 [cited 2021 Oct 25]. Available from:
copy to clipboard

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.


    Attention! This essay is not unique. You can get a 100% Plagiarism-FREE one in 30 sec

    Receive a 100% plagiarism-free essay on your email just for $4.99
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample

    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!


    Professional writers and researchers


    Sources and citation are provided


    3 hour delivery