Genes May Affect Whether People Heed Advice04/19/11
TUESDAY, April 19 (HealthDay News) -- Certain gene mutations
influence how likely people are to heed advice, even if that advice
runs counter to experience, say researchers at Brown
Their study included more than 70 volunteers with and without
gene mutations that affect the activity of the neurotransmitter
chemical dopamine in areas of the brain called the prefrontal
cortex and the striatum.
The prefrontal cortex considers and files instructions and
advice from other people, such as, "Don't sell those stocks," the
researchers explained. The striatum processes firsthand experience
to help make future decisions, such as, "Those stocks often rise
after I sell them."
They found that people with a variation in a gene called
DARPP-32, which affects the response to dopamine in the striatum,
learned more quickly from experience when they did not receive
advice. But these people were also more likely to heed others'
In these people, the striatum gives more weight to experiences
that reinforce the advice stored in the prefrontal cortex and less
weight to experiences that contradict the information stored there,
the researchers found.
This is called confirmation bias, according to the researchers
-- something that's common in many areas, including politics,
astrology and science.
The study appears in the April 20 issue of the
Journal of Neuroscience.
The American Psychological Association has more about
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