Why Are Some People Just Nicer Than Others?

substance abuse treatment centers in raleigh NCIf you have a hard time getting along with people, you may be able to blame it on genetics and not on the fact that you’re just a grouch.

Researchers from two different studies have uncovered evidence that some people may be genetically predisposed to be nicer and more charitable than others. If you are searching for substance abuse treatment centers in Raleigh NC? Call Legacy Freedom today to learn more.

Why Some People Are Nicer

In the first study, a group of scientists from the University of Buffalo and the University of California wanted to see if hormones in the brain play a part in how people treat each other. Previous research discovered that there are two hormones - oxytocin and vasopressin – associated with niceness.  Oxytocin is known as the “love drug” or “cuddle hormone” because it increases when we kiss or hug someone. It plays a role in how we pair up into couples. Vasopressin has a similar structure to oxytocin and is located on the same chromosome. These hormones bind cells through receptors, and certain genes can determine how receptive the brain is to them.

In the study, which will be published in the Psychological Science journal, researchers tested people to see which form of receptors they had. People with the “nice” genes were asked about their attitudes toward things like crime, helping others and being involved in their communities.

The results showed that people who had a form of the hormone receptors were more likely to be nice and want to help others.

Michael Poulin, one of the professors involved in the study, said, "The study found that these genes combined with people's perceptions of the world as a more or less threatening place to predict generosity.”

"Specifically, study participants who found the world threatening were less likely to help others,” he added, “unless they had versions of the receptor genes that are generally associated with niceness.”

He goes on to say that he doesn’t believe he’s found the niceness gene, but it can contribute to a person’s disposition and the way they feel about the world around them.

In another similar study, researchers found that people who tend to be more charitable may have more activity in the parts of their brain that fuel empathy. The study scanned the brain patterns of people who were given different images of emotions to imitate. They were also given games to play that involved giving away money to gauge how people who gave away more compared to those who kept more for themselves.

They found that when there was more activity in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for regulating behavior and controlling impulses, the people gave away less. The participants with the most brain activity in the parts of the brain associated with pain and emotion perception were more generous.

One of the doctors involved in the study compared the behavior to a neural golden rule. Maybe it is human nature to want to treat others the way we want to be treated, but it may be that some people have stronger impulses to do just that.

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