April 15, 2012
Oxytocin, Vasopressin Genetic Variants Influence Niceness

The extent you which you view the world as threatening comes partly from genetic variants of a couple of variants of neural receptors.

Of those surveyed, 711 subjects provided a sample of saliva for DNA analysis, which showed what form they had of the oxytocin and vasopressin receptors.

"The study found that these genes combined with people's perceptions of the world as a more or less threatening place to predict generosity," Poulin says.

"Specifically, study participants who found the world threatening were less likely to help others -- unless they had versions of the receptor genes that are generally associated with niceness," he says.

These "nicer" versions of the genes, says Poulin, "allow you to overcome feelings of the world being threatening and help other people in spite of those fears.

"The fact that the genes predicted behavior only in combination with people's experiences and feelings about the world isn't surprising," Poulin says, "because most connections between DNA and social behavior are complex.

When people are able to choose offspring genetic variants for brain genes will they decide to make their kids more nice, suspicious, cautious, ambitious, laid back, anxious, empathetic? When we gain the ability to genetically shape the personalities of future generations in which directions will humans evolve? Will the human race diverge into very incompatible and different personality types? Or very different yet complementary personality types? Imagine, for example, more masculine men and more feminine women. Will they have personalities that make them more compatible.

Also see my previous post Oxytocin Receptor Variant Boosts Empathy.

Also see an article about how liberals and conservatives think differently. Will they have children who are even more liberal and more conservative? Will the middle disappear because parents just won't choose genetic mixes that yield middle of the roaders?

Share |      Randall Parker, 2012 April 15 12:09 PM  Brain Personality


Comments
PacRim Jim said at April 15, 2012 11:45 PM:

Will, liberals and conservatives have children who are even more liberal and more conservative?
If so, then perhaps the 40 million abortions over the past 40 years will not have been for nothing.

George B said at April 16, 2012 1:01 PM:

Sexual reproduction kept the gene pool mixed with some advantages for those with good genes. With a couple generations of effective contraception, we've decoupled sex and reproduction so that beautiful people having more opportunities for sex doesn't result in more beautiful babies. Instead we appear to be making a society with a relatively small elite who have a small number of children toward the end of their reproductive years and a lower middle class that more babies earlier. I used to try to guess which floor people getting on the company elevator would select just based on height and facial characteristics. People in upper management have a certain genetic characteristics that are obvious even if they're wearing gym clothes. Hard to imagine what directly manipulating genes is going to for the elite that already tower above us through selective breeding.

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