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GIFTED STUDENTS

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Text Preview Social anxiety is a discomfort or a fear when a person is in social interactions that involve a concern about being judged or evaluated by others. People vary in how often they experience social anxiety and in which kinds of situations. Approximately 18 million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder. Social anxiety is the third largest mental health care problem in the world. This disorder is equally prevalent in both males and females. Social anxiety is characterized by an intense fear of situations, usually social or performance situations, where embarrassment may occur. Individuals with the disorder are often acutely aware of the physical signs of their anxiety and fear that others will notice, judge them, and think poorly of them. People with social anxiety disorder are seen by others as being shy, quiet, backward, withdrawn, inhibited, unfriendly, nervous, aloof, and disintegrated. This can result in extreme anxiety in anticipation of an activity altogether. Adults usually recognize that their fears are unfounded or excessive, but suffer them nonetheless. Developmental social anxiety occurs early in childhood as a normal part of the development of social functioning, and is a stage most children outgrow, but can persist or resurface and grow into chronic social anxiety. However this is not believed to be purely environmentally grown. Evidence of anxiety is also apparent in the animal kingdom, which suggests that it is not simply the result of nurturing, it is an inherent attribute. In the book Fears, Phobias, and Rituals, Isaac Marks found that birds avoided prey that had markings similar to the "vertebrate eye," eye-like markings on other animals, such as moths. In his experiment, these eye-spots were rubbed off of moths. As a result, they were less likely to be eaten and more likely to escape from a predator. Marks concluded that the birds feel scrutinized by the gaze of another animal and thus avoid the "eyes," much like humans with social anxiety avoid situations in which they feel scrutinized or avoid eye-contact. His research suggests that biological factors influence a form of social anxiety in animals Jerome Kagan, Ph.D. has researched the genetic causes of social anxiety disorder at Harvard. In his study of children from infancy to adolescence he discovered that "10-15% of children to be irritable infants who become shy, fearful and behaviorally inhibited as toddlers, and then remain cautious, quiet, and introverted in their early grade school years. In adolescence, they had a much higher than expected rate of social anxiety disorder." This evidence suggests, of course, that people are born with social anxiety disorder, which indicates that there are biological factors that contribute to its development, not simply environmental factors. Kagan also discovered a common physiological trait in these particular children: they all had a high resting heart rate, which rose even higher when the child was faced with stress. Again, this physiological trait suggests the biological causes of social anxiety disorder. In this study, Kagan also found evidence that linked the causes of social anxiety disorder with genetics: the parents of the children with social anxiety disorder have increased rates of social anxiety disorder as well as other anxiety disorders. There is also other research that suggests that social anxiety disorder has genetic causes. According to The American Psychiatric Association: "anxiety disorders run in families for example, if one identical twin has an anxiety disorder, the second twin is likely to have an anxiety disorder as well, which suggests that genetics-possibly in combination with life experiences-makes some people more susceptible to these illnesses" Some of the common problems children face range from starting a new school, fear of natural calamities, social anxiety, fear of being bullied; pressure to succeed academically to several other complicated issues.

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