Have you ever felt a rush of blood to your cheeks or the sinking feeling of dread creeping up your spine, because you have to mingle with people you don’t know? You might think it’s because you’re an introvert… but that might not be the case.
Click start to play today’s Word Search, where the word ‘timid’ makes us wonder what’s the difference between shyness and introversion?
The answer is apparently a lot, according to scientists.
Think of two children in a classroom – one introverted, and the other shy. When the teacher asks all the children to participate in a group activity, the introverted child would much prefer to stay at her desk and read a book, because she finds all the other children stressful. A shy child, on the other hand, would want to join the others but remains at their desk because she is afraid to join them.
According to a June 2019 BBC report, children can be assisted in overcoming their shyness, but introversion is as much a part of people’s personality as their hair or eye colour.
Over the past decade, scientists have analysed DNA, especially in identical twins, to find genetic variants that might affect their personality and mental health. According to the BBC report, they found that only about 30 per cent of shyness can be attributed to genetics – the rest occurs as a response to one’s environment.
But in the case of introverts, while some can be shy, not all of them are – many have great social skills and like to engage with people. However, they eventually do need some alone time after social occasions to refresh and recharge themselves.
At the end of the day, both shyness and introversion are traits that don’t have to be viewed negatively. A January 2011 study by Brown University in the US and published by Japan-based nonprofit Child Research Net, found that being quiet and reserved is more desirable in parts of Asia, including China and Japan, whereas the US is said to value confident, extroverted behaviour.