Shyness pp 81-90 | Cite as

Shyness and Temperament

  • Jerome Kagan
  • J. Steven Reznick
Part of the Emotions, Personality, and Psychotherapy book series (EPPS)


One of the profound principles of the sciences that study life processes is that the inherent properties of the unit under study, whether it be cell, organ, or individual, make a contribution to its development through successive encounters with varied surroundings. History tells us that whenever an investigator overemphasizes the influence of the surroundings to the exclusion of the unit, or the unit to the exclusion of the environment, a correction will occur. In the decades immediately following publication of On the Origin of Species,many biologists translated Darwin’s work to mean that the individual organism’s contribution was minimal and natural selection was the important determinant of evolution. This supposition made evolutionary theory vulnerable to a wave of Lamarckianism that reached a crest at the turn of the century. When this perspective was defeated by discoveries in the new field of genetics, the modern synthesis that acknowledged the complementary role of both genes and environment became possible (Bowler, 1983).


Heart Rate Variability Behavioral Inhibition Respiratory Sinus Arrhythmia Variable Heart Rate Taboo Word 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jerome Kagan
    • 1
  • J. Steven Reznick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Social RelationsHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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