The latest blog post from Tyde Pavlinik: Gene Tied to Cynicism Found


Scientists believe they have found the gene linked to cynicism.

Ever wonder why some people always see the worst in everything?  Scientists may have found the gene behind the tendency to see the world through a cynical lens.  A recent Nature World News article chronicles the findings.  Scientists believe they have pinpointed a particular gene that causes people to focus on the negative and at times, filter out the positive.

The gene, known in the scientific world as ADRA2b, is apparently prevalent in people who see the world suspiciously.  Also interesting is the fact that the gene is not evenly distributed throughout the population.  Depending on your ethnic background, your likelihood of having the gene can run the gamut.  For example, researchers found that over 50% of caucasians carry ADRA2b, while those from Rwandan descent carry it at a much lower rate of about 10%.

Researchers were already aware that ADRA2b played a role in regulating norepinephrine, which is a stress hormone that helps human beings choose between the fight or flight instinct.

So how does ADRA2b actually manifest itself in human beings?  One of the tests administered to around 200 subjects was to quickly show them a series of words on a screen.  Those who carry the gene were much more likely to remember the words with negative connotations.  Researchers on the project also named other examples of cynicism caused by ADRA2b.  They say that those who carry it would be more likely to look at a natural landscape like the Grand Canyon and be distracted by the natural beauty by the prospect of tripping, falling rocks, or other harmful or negative things that could befall them.  They also said those with the gene might be more likely to pick angry or unhappy faces out of a crowd.

It’s unclear what the application of these findings will be, but scientists on the project are excited since it marks the first time researchers have found a gene that directly correlates to an worldview influenced by emotion.  For these reason alone the finding are a break through.

via Tyde Pavlinik


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