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The shy one and the problem child

  1. Jul 15, 2003 #1
    I've heard about this new field of study called evolutionary psychology which attempts to understand human behavior in light of evolution and I read this article on how shyness was a kind of genetic predisposition that tends to lead to greater chances of mental disorders as if it were a disease that needs a cure and what stumps me is if evolution has given us some people that are excessively shy and some kids that seem as if their heads are going to spin around then is evolution or nature making some mistake that we have to cure with lots of pills? There must be evolutionary advantages to both inborn personality types and an advantage to having a diversity of personality types within a group.
    My view is it has to do with a degree of the perception of fear, that is that shy children are much more afraid of the unknown and cautious, anything that is unusual brings about a kind of increased sense of the negative consequences of what it may have, whereas the problem child is much more fearless, a problem child doesn't care so much about the negative that the positive outweighs this and that taking risks often lead to getting things we want, a problem child isn't seeking to get attention of any sort so much as get emotional stimulation of any sort, the shy child doesn't have to do much to get an emotional stimulation their sense of fear already dominates so that thinking itself can be a form of stimulation if or although that thinking would be prone to percieving the problematic side of things. A problem child as an adult may later be an extrovert and a shy child an introvert. In a tribal society it would be very beneficial to have a few people without much fear of attacking a lion in the midst of starvation of the group and a few people with a lot of fear of the lion who might stay up late on guard or make sure the fire doesn't burn out so they aren't eaten in the night. Both types have flaws so most people are roughly balanced, but that the extrovert has to eventually learn some caution or make many needless mistakes and the introvert some boldness or miss out on many opportunities.
    As for myself, I was born shy so probably don't see as clearly from the point of view of the bold.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 16, 2003 #2
    Errr... This is biased, but "evolutionary psychology" is crap, utter crap. Human behavior can be put in the context of evolution, this is perfectly valid, but to think that such a recontextualization is able to "explain" behavior is, in my opinion, grasping for skyhooks. Clearly we behave in the way that we do because of our evolution, but to think that there are hinges (hinges that are conviently already spelled out by our existing vocabularies) is ignorant. Evolutionary psychologist treat the questions "why we behave?" and "how we behave" as tantamount - they aren't.
  4. Jul 16, 2003 #3

    I swear... You are like a wall.
  5. Jul 17, 2003 #4
    i both agree and disagree with your statements:
    i disagree becuase i believe evolutionary psychology is capable of describing human behavior well. however, i agree becuase it has little practical application (outside the realm of philosophy and evolutionary sciences)to the treatment of a patient suffering from a mental disorder, and therefore is of little use to phychological sciences. (<<<my two cents<<<)
  6. Jul 17, 2003 #5
    Have a friend who was in management, sales actually, told me that Shy people sometimes make the very best of sales people, because they sometimes work very hard(er) to overcome their shyness.

    The mixes of human character affords a variety of blending factors that allows for a very diverse reaction set(s).

    There is also "amygdala"(SP?) training factors at play, environment being effected (Or NoT) upon 'genetics', as structured, in stage of growth/age.
  7. Jul 19, 2003 #6
    Well, you can't blame him - in the light of such studies as those done with the !Kung, I tend to agree with him. Of course, I think an evolutionary approach to psychology is important, I just think a lot needs to be revised in that field.
  8. Jul 20, 2003 #7
    Right. If, at some time in our future, we are born into a truly hostile environment/culture, the shy ones might out-survive their more aggressive contemporaries ...by not taking undue chances.

    It might be worth noting that even within the development from childhood to adulthood in our species, there is a personality morphism that gives rise to a segment of ready "warriors" -- we call them "teenagers" -- and I'm not being facetious or disrespectful here. I believe that this is ALSO a pro-survival mechanism to have a group of easily aggressive beings whose frontal cortex has not fully developed ...ya know, so we can send them to Iraq.

    If you were a baby raccoon, it is possible that you'd be sleeping snuggly in your nest while your more aggressive sibling is already roadkill.

    And, let me add THIS to stir the pot: personality types may also be the result of REINCARNATION ...as "bad seeds" just keep getting "badder" ...unless they "see the light" and start getting BETTER. And the shy ones may have been traumatized somehow.

    Take a look into the eyes of babies and you will often see the "personality type" of the SPIRIT that dwells within.
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2003
  9. Jul 20, 2003 #8
    Even psychologies must be ultimately based on a philosophy, and what distinguishes psychology from philosophy is its emphasis on the idea of mental health and illness. Thus, all evolutionary psychology describes is a vision of health and illness based on a philosophy of absolutes compatable with the vast majority of the world's cultures.

    A hundred years ago people with Turetts Syndrome were thrown in jail, hidden in the family attic, or locked in a padded cell somewhere according to just such absolutist philosophies and the psychologies developed from them. In the state I live in, some twenty thousand young people were sterilized as genetically inferior, feeble minded, etc. Thankfully, Functional Contextualist philosophies have finally began to seriously challange such inhumane socio-political nonsense in the name of righteousness and science.

    By bridging the cognitive and behavioral sciences using linguistic analysis, psychologists themselves have for the first time come under the rigorous quantitative analysis of behaviorists and philosophers. No longer can they indefinitely hide the dirty truth of what they do behind political rhetoric.
  10. Jul 20, 2003 #9
    In my experience, people who think that "a lot needs to be revised" in EP "in the light of such studies as those done with the !Kung" are not people who are terribly familiar with the field - familiar, that is, with the (mostly critical) rhetoric, but not with the science. I've tried to expand on these points as tactfully as I could, but not only did my posts not gather any replies, here we are back at square one: "evolutionary psychology is crap, utter crap."

    In any case, I've learned my lesson, so instead of trying to explain why EP has nothing in the least to do with "a vision of health and illness based on a philosophy of absolutes," I'm just going to roll my eyes and move on.
  11. Jul 20, 2003 #10
    Well, perhaps you've learned YOUR lesson...but we haven't learned OURS. Since this is a new thread, why not give us another chance.

    Having hit brick walls myself, I understand your frustration. But, not being the "shy type" (to stay on topic :wink:), I keep comin' back for more. (Plus, rolling my eyes, over time, gives me a headache!)

    Please expand -- briefly at first -- on your view of evolutionary psychology, and your post will gather at least ONE reply, I promise.
  12. Jul 20, 2003 #11


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    how interesting that you say this because normally around a group of people in a social situation, i am extremely quiet and won't really "reach" out until i am reached for...and my occupation is a sales rep that takes me hundreds of miles each week meeting all kinds of people...
  13. Jul 20, 2003 #12
    Myself, I am not in sales, althought I have been in my life, am sorta the same, just trained a little bit, By God's grace, can sorta turn it 'on' and 'off', "quite/reserved", and "talkative/yakative".
  14. Jul 20, 2003 #13
    Basically it seems like a new field of study in which the behaviors and thinking of humans is view from on evolutionary point of view to attempt to shed light on ourselves and the brain. Darwin made a prediction as to the application of evolutionary theory toward a much more important thing at the end of Origins of Species, maybe it's toward ourselves. If it is a new field it will probably be riddled with flaws and too much speculation at first that puts most people off.
  15. Jul 21, 2003 #14
    Heh interesting. With direct meetings with people, I was from my semi-early school days shy, probably become a little less shy now. But when I sold(and traded) Magic the Gathering Cards(a card game from Wizard of the Coast, the same guys making the pokemon cards), I was very suprised by myself and still is, because I was one of the most best selling guys around, and I throughoutly enjoyed every second of it.

    Edit: Oh, and I see I'm the second one here
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2003
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