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  #1  
Old 18th May 2019, 14:52
Moksha Moksha is offline
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Default SA in the womb?

I cut out and kept a fascinating article in last week's Daily Telegraph about neuroscience. There was an interview with Hannah Critchlow, a Cambridge professor, who argues that the modern view (one we've adopted from the US) that 'the sky is the limit', all you gotta do is 'get out of your comfort zone' and 'go for it' etc is ****cks. Instead, she writes, "much of how our life unfolds is outside our conscious control."

"Our DNA determines how our unique neural circuitry - or connectome, made up of some 100 trillion pathways - is laid down in the womb, priming us to see the world in our own way and informing how we make the minute-by-minute decisions that shape the arc of our lives."

In other words, how your brain and nervous system are wired up is determined by your DNA. An introverted, sensitive, jumpy, anxious avoidant person, whose nervous system is on a knife edge, is the way they are because of their DNA. She predicts a future in which babies are screened in the womb. Before they are even born, we'll scan their brains and identify whether they are going to be introverted or extroverted, open to new experience or withdrawn and afraid!!
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  #2  
Old 18th May 2019, 15:06
mutedsoul mutedsoul is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Maybe it does but I think with more understanding, most neuro diversity isn't a problem. For example, autism isn't fully negative as apparently lots of inventors had it. There are apparent advantages to ADHD. Even introversion is usually paired with someone who is easily stimulated and therefore highly likely to be fearful and withdrawn but this also means they are somehow more likely to be arty or creative as art is highly based on expressing senses.

Society isn't a one size fits all like we are programmed to believe.
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  #3  
Old 18th May 2019, 15:17
Moksha Moksha is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mutedsoul
Maybe it does but I think with more understanding, most neuro diversity isn't a problem. For example, autism isn't fully negative as apparently lots of inventors had it. There are apparent advantages to ADHD. Even introversion is usually paired with someone who is easily stimulated and therefore highly likely to be fearful and withdrawn but this also means they are somehow more likely to be arty or creative as art is highly based on expressing senses.

Society isn't a one size fits all like we are programmed to believe.
True. I suppose there are advantages to most things. Above all, knowing that these problems are largely genetic would save people from so much guilt and shame. Many SA sufferers feel weak and pathetic - 'losers' who can't cope with life. I'm suspicious of all this stuff about "challenging your boundaries," "pushing out of your comfort zone" etc. In my experience it often backfires (it's like caning a child with severe ADHD for "not sitting still"). I would have been spared so much pain if someone had told my parents "he has this particular set of genes...children with this combination usually go on to be introverted, sensitive, and avoidant. You need to intensely socialize him from an early age. And take it easy on him if he doesn't want to go out when he's a teenager. He can't help it. It's the way his brain is wired."
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  #4  
Old 18th May 2019, 16:09
Dougella Dougella is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Have you read a book called 'Quiet - The power of introverts'? There is some very interesting research along similar lines, not in the womb but with babies where they show that the kind of character they have can be observed from very early on. I think we have to remember though that not all introverted people have any kind of anxiety disorder, a mental health disorder is something completely different and extroverted people can have anxiety disorders too.

As mutedsoul says there are many positive aspects to all kinds of different conditions that people may have. But as you say Moksha one of the main things is making sure that children feel that who they are fundamentally is fine and they don't need to try to be someone they're not.
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  #5  
Old 18th May 2019, 17:19
limey123 limey123 is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dougella
Have you read a book called 'Quiet - The power of introverts'?
Reading that very book right now. But tempted to quit as I'm finding it tedious, because it's VERY US-centric, which makes it feel less relevant to us Brits. Pretty much all the examples used so far are about American businesspeople or from their universities. I think she could have used more examples of renowned persons from across the globe.

As for the OP's line of thinking, I personally have no doubt that an appreciable portion of our experiences is affected by our makeup. But I also believe, conversely, that almost no matter what hand you've been dealt, life is largely what the individual decides to make of it. Look at Helen Keller as an example.
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  #6  
Old 18th May 2019, 17:30
Hylian Hylian is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

By the same logic, the interests and personality differences broadly observed between men and women would largely be caused by genetics. Grab your pitchforks sauk!
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  #7  
Old 18th May 2019, 19:06
Moksha Moksha is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by limey123
I personally have no doubt that an appreciable portion of our experiences is affected by our makeup. But I also believe, conversely, that almost no matter what hand you've been dealt, life is largely what the individual decides to make of it.
Well, that is the million dollar question - how much free will do we really have? Professor Critchlow, who is a neuroscientist rather than a geneticist, argues that "you can take less credit for your life choices, and those beliefs you hold dear, than you think...we humans flatter ourselves that we are authors of our own destiny." Another Professor, Robert Plomin, recently published a book on genetics. Like Critchlow he argues that genes play the decisive role.

It's hard to know. It seems as if we have free will. I mean, once you become conscious of your genetic make-up, and you recognize where genetics is influencing your behaviour, can you take control? I suppose they would argue that how you take control would in itself be shaped by your DNA.

When you think about it, the first third of our life really is beyond our control. First, there are the genes you inherit. Obviously we have zero influence or say in this. Then, there are your parents - their personalities, traumas, etc. Finally, there is environment. Are you born on a rough council estate? Do you have an abusive sibling? Are you bullied at school? When you put all those things together, you get the individual and his particular personality. By the time you become aware of all this, at, say, 21 or so, it's too late.
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  #8  
Old 18th May 2019, 19:13
Dougella Dougella is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by limey123
Reading that very book right now. But tempted to quit as I'm finding it tedious, because it's VERY US-centric, which makes it feel less relevant to us Brits. Pretty much all the examples used so far are about American businesspeople or from their universities. I think she could have used more examples of renowned persons from across the globe.

As for the OP's line of thinking, I personally have no doubt that an appreciable portion of our experiences is affected by our makeup. But I also believe, conversely, that almost no matter what hand you've been dealt, life is largely what the individual decides to make of it. Look at Helen Keller as an example.
Some of it is a bit like that yeah, just skip the bits you don't find interesting!

I think the same, we're not completely limited by our genetic make up and we do have a lot of power to shape how our lives go.
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  #9  
Old 18th May 2019, 19:17
mutedsoul mutedsoul is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hylian
By the same logic, the interests and personality differences broadly observed between men and women would largely be caused by genetics. Grab your pitchforks sauk!
True, but then men and women also vary a lot. Masculinity and femininity is like a spectrum
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  #10  
Old 20th May 2019, 19:55
BritishPeace BritishPeace is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

I think I i learnt something similar in psychology, the behavioural inhibition system and the behavioural activation system
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  #11  
Old 20th May 2019, 20:04
tatzelwurm tatzelwurm is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

I don't know, but now I'm imagining twin fetuses avoiding eye contact for nine long, awkward months.
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  #12  
Old 20th May 2019, 20:48
biscuits biscuits is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

How depressingly fatalistic.

What about the neuroplasticity of the brain? You can be born with a genetic predisposition, but you can learn not to be afraid of things. You can override it and retrain your brain.

Some things are probably fixed though - or is that people haven't had the experiences/challenges that mean that they are able to change?

Similarly, a person who isn't naturally anxious can have things happen to them that changes their brain e.g. if they were bullied or experienced something traumatic.


I don't believe that it's 100% nature and 0% nurture. I doubt that's what's she's saying though.
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Old 20th May 2019, 21:19
Dougella Dougella is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

^ I agree. And everyone feels fear and anxiety at certain things, that's completely normal!
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  #14  
Old 21st May 2019, 16:48
Moksha Moksha is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by biscuits
What about the neuroplasticity of the brain? You can be born with a genetic predisposition, but you can learn not to be afraid of things. You can override it and retrain your brain.

Some things are probably fixed though - or is that people haven't had the experiences/challenges that mean that they are able to change?

Similarly, a person who isn't naturally anxious can have things happen to them that changes their brain e.g. if they were bullied or experienced something traumatic.


I don't believe that it's 100% nature and 0% nurture. I doubt that's what's she's saying though.
As always we come back to the nature-nurture debate. I find this fascinating, partly because I long to understand how the **** I ended up this way. I am convinced genetics played a massive part in my avoidance, paranoia, and general personality malfunction. I mentioned Professor Robert Plomin in the OP. He is an expert on genetics and recently published a book in which he came down heavily on the side of nature over nurture. It's not that he believes experience is irrelevant. Obviously, abuse, neglect, bullying, etc, are going to shape your development. His point is that genetics always wins in the end.

So, for example, someone could inherit an extroverted, high-energy, sociable personality type. He is then raised by miserable, neglectful, cruel alcoholics. They are bitter and depressed and fill him with fear and loathing. At 18 he leaves, and for years he continues to see the world through their eyes. He is flat, depressed, etc. However, after two or three years with his new friends, who are generally upbeat and happy, his natural/original personality re-asserts itself. In other words, people don't change; they just become what they really are .

And yet, so far as I understand it, we can re-wire the brain (as you write, it is 'plastic'), and we can literally switch genes on and off through the people and places we expose ourselves to. And what else are we but our brains and our genes???!!!
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  #15  
Old 21st May 2019, 17:19
Moksha Moksha is offline
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Default Re: SA in the womb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Melangell
I think there***8217;s a tendency for people with social anxiety to link introversion to anxiety, because often with social anxiety someone is both.
But they***8217;re not necessarily linked. Having a personality type doesn***8217;t predispose you to suffering from anxiety, I don***8217;t think. Lots of people who are not introverted get anxiety.

My sister is the kind of high energy,extrovert you describe. She doesn***8217;t have social anxiety but has suffered from eating disorders all her life and episodes of extreme anxiety and psychosis. Being extrovert doesn***8217;t mean everything is ok all the time.
That's a really good point Melangell. You are right of course. Like most people I'm obsessed with my own life. I yearn to be a high energy extrovert who loves people and feels comfortable around them. And I assume that if I was that type of person, my problems would end. That is almost certainly nonsense. I could have a whole other set of issues. I know an extrovert, for example, who is manic and OCD.

I'm not sure about the link between introversion and anxiety. I suspect you are right - that the introverted are not always doomed to anxiety. However, I also suspect that introverts generally find socializing tougher - more stressful, more exhausting. Consequently, they must be more prone to SA? Could you have a high-energy extrovert crippled with social anxiety? And could you have a low energy introvert who is totally comfortable in social situations and completely at ease meeting new people?
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