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Are mean people born that way?

Let face it everyone isn nice. In fact, being nice is more difficult for some people than others.

Now hold on a minute this doesn give your mean neighbor an excuse to blame his DNA for not letting kids on the block play on his lawn.

It a little more complicated than that.

The research: A few questions and some spit

Researchers offered an online survey to participants asking questions like:

people have a duty to pay taxes?

you engage in charitable activities?

Then some participants sent in samples of their saliva so researchers could check out their DNA. residents were included in the final analysis.

Researchers analyzed the spit samples. They looked at the particular variants of receptor genes these people had for the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin.

In case you wondering, oxytocin and vasopressin are very similar structurally, and seem to have some similar social effects. For example, they both associated with pair bonding aka bringing closer together two spouses or a mom and her child.

In fact, that why oxytocin has been called cuddle hormone. while the hormones have similar effects on the brain, they differ in the rest of the body. Oxytocin can induce labor. Vasopressin increases when you thirsty and prevents the formation of urine.

found that these genes also predict people’s willingness to be nice on behalf of other people or aggressive on behalf of other people, Poulin said. In other words, such biological factors may influence your willingness to defend someone else.

That is consistent with other research, which found that rat mothers are more willing to be aggressive on behalf of pups when they received oxytocin.

Previous research has also shown that these hormones make people more socially active.

Keep in mind that this study only shows associations between genes, hormones and behavior, and doesn prove direct causal links.

It not a your DNA situation, Poulin said.

we found some interesting interactions with genes and perceptions of the world, I would resist saying that we found genes that control behavior, he cautioned.

The next step for this area of study is to look at how sensitive people are to different kinds of threats.

A few questions that might be posed by future researchers:

it important for people to believe they helping good people?

there something in a person background or upbringing that influences how threatening they believe the world is?

Poulin and colleagues will also look at what other behaviors these genes might influence.

So it probably a little too early for mean people to start using their DNA as a convenient excuse for their bad behavior. But maybe someday.

The impact factor of the journal Psychological Science is around 5.0 (rounding up). So, for me this impact factor means try, some insight, but in the end of the experimental presentation we are not sure quite what is going on, although there are certainly some things to think about I kind of think that it is funny that they picked 2 genes out of 20,000+ genes or coding elements (/enhancer elements or other important non coding elements) in the genome and looked for genetic variants in these 2 genes. Certainly human behavior is complicated, and a 2 gene program is not sufficient to describe such a complex behavior. An unbiased approach at looking at the genomes of patients versus might be more reveling. I downloaded their publlication, and the results seem. well rather inconclusive and quite incomplete, but make sure you judge that for yourself.
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