Ever wondered why some people are nice and generous while others behave badly? Well, it’s because their genes may have nudged them towards developing different personalities, say scientists.
Researchers at the University of Buffalo and University of California, Irvine, US, have found a connection between people being nice and versions of receptor genes for two hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, which have been associated with niceness in past studies. The new research, published in the journal Psychological Science, suggests that if you have the genes that give you certain versions of those hormone receptors, you are more likely to be a nice person than if you have the genes for one of the other versions.However, the researchers found that the genes work in concert with a person’s upbringing and life experiences to determine how sociable or anti-social he or she becomes.
Study participants were nice, dutiful and charitable as long as they had the versions of the receptor genes associated with niceness.
“These nicer versions of the genes allow you to overcome feelings of the world being threatening and help other people in spite of those fears,” said study author Michel Poulin of the University of Buffalo.