Science have an interesting snippet on a study that shows that shy children may not only be more sensitive to unpleasant things, and also to pleasurable and rewarding experiences as well.
A brain scanning study led by Dr Amanda Guyer showed that areas of the brain sensitive to both anxiety and reward were more strongly activated in shy children than other children.
The study subjects – who were classified as either shy or outgoing based on psychological testing – were instructed to press a button as quickly as possible after being shown a signal. If they pressed the button in time, they won money, or at least prevented themselves from losing it.
Both groups performed similarly, and there was no difference in the activity of their amygdalas – the brain region that governs fear. Shy children, however, showed two to three times more activity in their striatum, which is associated with reward, than outgoing children, the team reports in the 14 June issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. “Up until now, people thought that [shyness] was mostly related to avoidance of social situations,” says co-author and child psychiatrist Monique Ernst. “Here we showed that shy children have increased activity in the reward system of the brain as well.”