Genetics linked to empathy in massive study

Share
Genetics linked to empathy in massive study

The study confirmed a higher EQ among women than men but this difference was not found to be genetic. To do so, they combed through data on almost 47,000 people who had used 23andMe, an at-home DNA testing kit, for links between how well they performed on an empathy test and genetic variatons. "It is an important psychological process that facilitates navigating social interactions and maintaining relationships, which are important for well-being". Cognitive empathy refers to the ability to recognize another person's thoughts and feelings, while affective empathy is the ability to respond with an appropriate emotion. EQ studies have shown the differences in empathy among individuals.

Results from prior psychological studies have suggested that empathy may be linked with certain psychiatric disorders.

In fact, women may show greater empathy simply due to their upbringing, life experience and social differences.

This implies that the difference in empathy between males and females is down to non-genetic biological factors.

"The largest genetic study conducted on empathy, using data from more than 46,000 customers of 23andMe", according to the Pasteur Institute, who contributed to the research, has been published Monday in the journal Translational Psychiatry.

Fifteen years ago, the team at the University of Cambridge discovered that empathy is a combination of two separate emotions: cognitive and affective empathy.

Participants were asked 60 questions, such as how far they agreed with the statements "I am quick to spot when someone in a group is feeling awkward or uncomfortable" and "If anyone asked me if I liked their haircut, I would reply truthfully, even if I didn't like it". According to Bourgeron the specific genes have not yet been identified. "This can give rise to disability no less challenging than other kinds of disability, such as dyslexia or visual impairment". "We as a society need to support those with disabilities, with novel teaching methods, workarounds, or reasonable adjustments, to promote inclusion".

The results showed 10 per cent of differences in empathy are determined by genes - but there was no link to the participant's sex.

A tenth of empathetic variation is due to genetic factors.

"This is the first GWAS to investigate the genetic architecture of self-reported empathy", the authors write.

Overall, the researchers found that about 11 percent of the differences in empathy levels in the study population can be explained by the SNP genetic variations - in other words, these variations account for about 10 percent of how empathetic you are - but these variations couldn't explain the difference between the sexes in the study.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge found that genes play a role in how much empathy a person is capable of.

"These results offer a fascinating new perspective on the genetic influences that underpin empathy", comments Thomas Bourgeron, Ph.D., a professor at Paris Diderot University, and director of the Human Genetics and Cognitive Functions Unit at the Institute Pasteur/CNRS.

Dr Varun Warrier said: 'This is an important step towards understanding the small but important role that genetics plays in empathy.

"Our next step is to gather larger samples to replicate these findings, and to pin-point the precise biological pathways associated with individual differences in empathy".

Share

Advertisement

Related Posts

Regeneron And Sanofi Say Test Shows Praluent Lowers Risk Of Death
Phillippe Steg, the study's co-chairman who presented the data at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Orlando, Florida. "I think that will impress the field and people who have to make (reimbursement) decisions", said Dr.

JAY Z And Beyoncé Announce 'On The Run II' Tour
Beyhive , this is not a drill: Beyonce just announced that she and her husband, Jay-Z, are set to go on tour again this summer. When do tickets go on sale? The video also shares that pre-sale will begin on March 14th, with general sale opening on 23rd.

DeMarco Murray, Jonathan Stewart reportedly meeting with Detroit Lions Monday
It didn't take long for recently-released Titans running back DeMarco Murray to find suitors in the free agent market. Of course, both those totals would have ranked tops on the Lions past year , as well as Murray's six touchdowns.

Healthcare Realty Trust Inc (NYSE:HR) to Issue Quarterly Dividend of $0.30
It fall, as 12 investors sold QTS shares while 46 reduced holdings. 55 funds opened positions while 163 raised stakes. Healthcare Realty Trust (NYSE:HR) last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, February 14th. (NYSE:QTS).

Court dismisses Gupta firms' bid to halt Bank of Baroda's SA exit
The Hawks are continuing to investigate the Guptas and at least one brother, Ajay, is on the run from justice. It can not therefore be said that the exit is ... calculated to frustrate the (court) order.

A look at Disneyland's upcoming 'Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge' attraction
Two, count 'em, TWO, Star Wars theme parks are being built at the moment, one in California and one in Florida. In a country pretty far, far away a new planet is being constructed - actually make that two planets.

Sarb to hold briefing on VBS Mutual Bank
According to Governor Kganyago, this has subsequently increased to 21 municipalities and deposits in excess of R1.5 billion. It is never the intention of Treasury for any bank to be liquidated, particularly a small black-owned bank.

Xiaomi Mi 7 takes the Geekbench test, matches other Snapdragon 845 phones
The Mi MIX 2S launch is set for March 27 after which the Chinese giant is likely to bring the listed smartphone to reality. And it was reported that the delay of Mi 7's launch is due to the dedicated hardware for the facial recognition feature.

Retail inflation soften, industrial production grows
In Nirmal Bang's views, " IIP is likely to come in at 6.7% YoY for January 2018, slightly lower than 7.1% in the previous month. Meanwhile, the Consumer Price Index inflation for February fell to 4.44% for February 2018 compared to the same month in 2017.

Assam finance minister to present first e-Budget tomorrow
The Budget presentation, billed as the state's first e-budget, was streamed online and details were updated on social media. The state of Assam will present its budget on Monday, which will be telecast on tablets available for MLAs in the Assembly.

© 2015 ExpressNewsline. All Rights reserved.