Variations In Shyness
Shyness appears to vary in conjunction with gender. Gender role stereotypes may play a role in the development of adolescent shyness. Shyness is considered to be a feminine trait; therefore, it is not surprising that girls report more self-conscious shyness after age eleven than boys (Simmons and Rosenberg 1975). Stereotypes make it more acceptable for girls to be shy and shyness may be a more serious problem for boys because they are expected to take the initiative in social encounters (Porteus 1979). Research also suggests cultural variation in shyness. For example, one research group (Pilkonis and Zimbardo 1979) found self-labeled shyness to be highest among samples of Japanese, Taiwanese, and Indian national groups and lowest among samples of Jewish Americans, Israelis, and Mexicans. The origin of such variation has not been determined, however.