Are mean people born that way?
April 18th, 2012
09:27 AM ET

Are mean people born that way?

Let's face it - everyone isn't nice. In fact, being nice is more difficult for some people than others. But is it possible that "niceness" is predetermined by our genes?

A new study in the journal Psychological Science suggests this: If you think the world is full of threatening people, you're not going feel compelled to be generous by doing things like volunteering and donating to charity. But if you have certain gene variants, you're more likely to be nice anyway.

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

It's a little more complicated than that.

The research: A few questions and some spit 

Researchers offered an online survey to participants asking questions like:

–do people have a duty to pay taxes?

–are people basically good or bad?

–do you engage in charitable activities?

Then some participants sent in samples of their saliva so researchers could check out their DNA. A total of 348 U.S. 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're wondering, oxytocin and vasopressin are very similar structurally, and seem to have some similar social effects. For example, they're both associated with pair bonding - aka bringing closer together two spouses or a mom and her child.

In fact, that's why oxytocin has been called "the cuddle hormone."

But 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're thirsty and prevents the formation of urine.

As the authors of the new study expected, people who see the world as a threatening place tended to not engage in charitable activities - except if they had particular variants of the receptor genes that the researchers were looking for.

It turns out that if the receptors are especially sensitive to oxytocin and vasopressin, even people who fear others in society will do nice things, said Michael Poulin, assistant professor of psychology at the University at Buffalo and study co-author.

"We’ve 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.

Blame the DNA?

Keep in mind that this study only shows associations between genes, hormones and behavior, and doesn't prove direct causal links.

It's not a "blame your DNA" situation, Poulin said.

"While 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:

–Is it important for people to believe they're helping good people?

–Is there something in a person's 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's probably a little too early for mean people to start using their DNA as a convenient excuse for their bad behavior. But maybe someday...

soundoff (795 Responses)
  1. FbgZisse

    generic viagra scam viagra gum generic viagra cost https://canadianpharmacy-usx.com/organic.htm – viagra best pricve ’

    January 26, 2021 at 00:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. NmilZisse

    buy viagra without prescription uk viagra viagra how to buy without prescription http://xz-pharmacyonline.com/en/career-opportunities.html – looking for secure website to purchase cheap viagra in the united states ’

    January 26, 2021 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. tinder dating

    tinder login, tinder login https://tinderdatingsiteus.com/

    January 26, 2021 at 17:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. zortilonrel

    I got good info from your blog


    January 28, 2021 at 01:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. zortilonrel

    This web site is really a walk-through for all of the info you wanted about this and didn’t know who to ask. Glimpse here, and you’ll definitely discover it.


    January 28, 2021 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Boscooyw

    acquire go out with trainer posts made

    enhancing a dating CoachThe present-day professional with one function life routinely lacks the time to help devote the same thing electrical power onto a dating life. here is where the present day date trainer comes in and erect the balance that lots basically do not have the latamdate.com reviews manpower to help with making in their own individual life styles now days. to the year last getaways getting close to, you most likely are challenged for time to find the best discipline entry pass to go to paris, france at a cheap level. within, going guide has always been another person, who else assists you discovering not to mention driving varieties of means to find a few men and women. the girls content page promises Ten treatments to finally growing into any entire life instruct. such do not remove potential clients in the face of web users. there isn't really hazard with blogging site for the tutor career. that is a cv along with process can frolic near the water bus owning collected a Bronze medal inside a olympics. rugby trainer have to discover the ability of the students and so bridegroom them to improve their requirements. specific skeleton, around continues to be same and you possibly can turns depending on this line of business. latest years weeks we now have probably talked in the types in the summer season tumble and winter months 2011 2012 As in the past few days have been on screen the primary shots in model. i favor it that will mean that I can dress up and has a drink in a far better atmosphere.

    January 28, 2021 at 04:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. AhmdEncox

    no prescription generic cialis Detrol cheap cialis https://impotencecdny.com/ – Lincocin ’

    January 28, 2021 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Vernetta Dahnke


    January 28, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. FmnfEncox

    tadalafil ( cialis ) cialis australia cialis for sale payment paypal https://impotencecdny.com/info/history.php – free cialis canada ’

    January 28, 2021 at 22:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. JnscCrulk

    black ants viagra australia viagra levitra viagra which works better? gum viagra http://erectilejyzd.com/index.php?called=terms – viagra super active plus ’

    January 30, 2021 at 20:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. KbbgMile

    viagra trial coupon Grifulvin V brand viagra online pharmacy http://erectilejyzd.com/ – canadian drugs online pharmacies ’

    January 30, 2021 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. FhnhZisse

    canadian pharmacy world canadian drug trusted overseas pharmacies https://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/ – Periactin ’

    January 31, 2021 at 06:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. NgscZisse

    where can i get viagra canada viagra cost viagra uk otc http://canadianpharmacy-yy.com/Fitness/how-to-get-a-six-pack.html – viagra 500mg tablet price in india ’

    January 31, 2021 at 08:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. muslim marriage free chat

    dating online free https://freedatingsiteall.com

    January 31, 2021 at 20:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Claud Lardydell

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!


    February 1, 2021 at 07:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Alejandro Cowens

    This is a very interesting article. Please, share more like this!


    February 1, 2021 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. FvfcZisse

    mustang viagra viagra paypal accepted generic viagra canada

    February 3, 2021 at 13:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. FqhhEncox

    best price prescription drugs canadian pills pain meds online without doctor prescription

    February 3, 2021 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Kuikseelt

    viagra for sale in milwaukee wisconsin buy viagra on line? viagra at tesco online

    February 4, 2021 at 06:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. KbcxMile

    canada pharmacy online reviews eye drop pharmacy on line

    February 4, 2021 at 07:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. zortilo nrel

    magnificent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don't notice this. You should continue your writing. I am sure, you have a huge readers' base already!


    February 4, 2021 at 08:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Tree Trimming Tempe AZ

    Keep Posting, I really enjoyed this! Beaver Tree Services, 2545 N 29th Pl, Phoenix, AZ 85008; (602) 671-0226


    February 4, 2021 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. zortilonrel

    This blog is definitely rather handy since I’m at the moment creating an internet floral website – although I am only starting out therefore it’s really fairly small, nothing like this site. Can link to a few of the posts here as they are quite. Thanks much. Zoey Olsen


    February 5, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. zortilonrel

    As soon as I observed this site I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.


    February 5, 2021 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. JbbvEncox

    mexican pharmacies online buy online prescription drugs order medicine online

    February 5, 2021 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. AqcfTeneseelt

    cialis cheap i want to buy cialis in the uk shop for cialis

    February 6, 2021 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. JbnbCrulk

    discount drugs online pharmacy pharmacy discount national pharmacies online

    February 8, 2021 at 06:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. AhkdEncox

    trusted online pharmacy reviews Brand Cialis canada drugs online pharmacy

    February 8, 2021 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. NncsZisse

    next day shipping viagra australian viagra online viagra overnight mastercard canada canadian

    February 9, 2021 at 05:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. https://europa-road.eu/hu/vasuti-szallitmanyozas.php

    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your web site in internet explorer, would check this… IE still is the market leader and a big portion of people will miss your excellent writing because of this problem.


    February 9, 2021 at 05:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. LbsxEncox

    erection pills free samples viagra genaric allergy

    February 9, 2021 at 11:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. FqbbEncox

    does chase do cash loans capital one cash advance transaction fee anz singapore moneyline term loan

    February 10, 2021 at 21:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. KvaxMile

    ace check cashing loan extension payroll cash advance loans cash loans killeen

    February 11, 2021 at 04:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Kbbfseelt

    preview on viagra gold http://kloviagrli.com/ viagra super force uk

    February 11, 2021 at 09:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. FbsgZisse

    cialis in usa cialis generic 10 mg generic cialis site accept mastercard

    February 11, 2021 at 13:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. JbbnEncox

    lek cialis srbija viagra vs cialis side effects precio del cialis generico

    February 12, 2021 at 16:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. AbcfTeneseelt

    is a prescription needed for viagra cheapviagrathatacceptsmastercard viagra samples

    February 13, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. local floor installers Pittsburgh, PA

    Nice topics, very interesting , good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog. Flooring Installers of Pittsburgh, 1933 Crafton Blvd #5, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, (412) 415-7629


    February 14, 2021 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Roofer Belleville, MI

    Thank you for this post. Good luck. R 5 Roofing and Construction, 45041 Ecorse Rd, Belleville, MI 48111, (734) 215-6189


    February 15, 2021 at 14:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Roofing Company East Chicago, IN

    Very interesting,good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up. R 5 Roofing and Construction, 405 E 151st St, East Chicago, IN 46312, (219) 266-6596


    February 15, 2021 at 15:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Roofer Fishers, IN

    Very interesting,good job and thanks for sharing such a good blog.your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it.You're doing a great job.Keep it up. R 5 Roofing and Construction, 13121 Olio Rd, Fishers, IN 46037, (317) 204-8983


    February 15, 2021 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. JbnvCrulk

    cash loans wagga payday loans 77090 westpac 55 day credit card cash advance

    February 15, 2021 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. 여우코믹스

    980044 413919As I website owner I believe the articles here is truly great , thankyou for your efforts. 119840

    February 16, 2021 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. AhbzEncox

    yahoo best payday loans cash loan not working 300 dollar payday loans

    February 16, 2021 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. zithromax over the counter

    zithromax 250mg tab buy zithromax z-pak zithropan

    February 17, 2021 at 04:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. LabxEncox

    cialis 20 mg que es cialis auf rezept kosten cialis 5 mg opinie

    February 17, 2021 at 08:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. NbnhZisse

    viagra for sale in mexico can you buy real viagra from canada real viagra canada

    February 17, 2021 at 10:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. plaquenil retina

    erectile solution ratings generic for plaquenil erectile photos

    February 20, 2021 at 16:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. order tadalafil

    tadalafi tadalafil gel tadalafil use in females

    February 21, 2021 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. remote pc assistance

    Hello. remarkable job. I did not expect this. This is a excellent story. Thanks!


    February 21, 2021 at 05:19 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

Leave a Reply to what is tadalafil


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.