Medicine: The Shyness Chemical

Can science help shrinking violets blossom? Well, not yet. But Stanford University researchers believe they have identified a chemical key to shyness. In a study of 16 men at the Palo Alto Veterans Administration Center, they found that timid types have lower levels of the brain chemical dopamine than more extroverted individuals (as measured by standardized personality tests).

Past research has shown that abnormal dopamine levels play a role in Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia and possibly narcolepsy, but the Stanford research appears to be the first to link the chemical to a normal personality trait. "There's nothing pathological about shyness," says Psychiatrist...