Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who Cares?

Scientists have discovered that we’re engineered for kindness – or not. The caring button is a genetic trait that determines how we respond to oxytocin (aka the “love” hormone); some of us have it, some of us don’t; most people can spot it a mile off.

In an experiment at the University of Oregon nine out of 10 neutral observers correctly identified carriers of the “A” version of the kindness gene, who are less inclined to feel positive, or to feel (say) parental sensitivity. On the other hand six out of 10 could spot those carrying the “GG” genotype – people with this genetic variation are generally seen as more empathetic, trusting and loving.

Perhaps to settle the nerves of the unloving by nature the researchers add that no gene trait can completely predict how we behave. But if you want to prove you’re hardwired to care, go spread some love today. If you want to start a revolution, pick out an “A” type and be kind to them. And next time someone’s mean to you, tell them they’re being … genetic.

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