Study: ‘Kindness Gene’ May Affect the Way Others See You

Researchers say genetics may be linked to how nice people think you are.

by Lesley Kennedy • Reporter

Sure, we’ve heard of love at first sight, but kindness at first sight? That’s a new one.

However, HealthDay reports new findings show the way others judge how nice you are on first seeing you may be traced to one human gene that affects a person’s empathy.

“What we’re learning is that, to a certain extent, we have a genetic basis that supports a lot of the processes that make us nice,” Aleksandr Kogan, the study’s author, tells the news service.

In the study, researchers looked at a gene “linked to the brain’s oxytocin receptor,” HealthDay reports, adding that higher oxytocin levels have been “linked to higher levels of trustworthiness, empathy and willingness to sacrifice.”

And, lo and behold, those involved in the study with the “kindness gene” were, guess what? More kind.

So, does this mean we can blame our genetics the next time we’re in a nasty mood? Sorry, pal, it’s not our fault—we were born this way.

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First Published November 16, 2011

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