Oxytocin could play role in parenting behavior
Dutch researchers published a study that suggests our genes may determine our parenting behavior.
If there was a gene for good parenting, would you want to be tested? Would you want to test your parents?
Dutch researchers published a study that suggests our genes may determine our parenting behavior. They found a correlation between nurturing behaviors and particular genetic variations. The finding highlights the role of serotonin and oxytocin in healthy human relationships.
Oxytocin is a hormone that's also a neurotransmitter in the brain, so it's used by neurons to communicate with each other. Oxytocin has long been recognized as a crucial hormone for mammalian bonding.
The study looked at 159 middle class mothers with 2-year-old sons, and they found that women who have a variant of a gene which encodes a part of the oxytocin system -- this variant is known to make the oxytocin system a little less effective, less efficient in the brain -- seemed to be less sensitive to their child on a variety of measures, like how quickly they respond to crying, how often they kiss their child.
Guest: Jonah Lehrer, science writer and "Radio Lab" contributing editor, in Los Angeles.
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