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Metaphysics & Psychology

Niceness - are we born with it ?

By T.K. Randall
April 12, 2012 · Comment icon 29 comments

Image Credit: Tom Ellenberger
Is generosity a trait that we develop through our life experiences or do our genes have a hand in it ?
Psychologists at the University at Buffalo and the University of California have conducted new research that suggests that while not exclusively so, how nice we are to other people is to some extent influenced by our genes. Studies have linked two hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, to the way we treat others. "The study found that these genes combined with people's perceptions of the world as a more or less threatening place to predict generosity," said study author Michel Poulin.
Michel Poulin, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at UB, is the principal author of the study "The Neurogenics of Niceness," published in this month in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Source: Science Daily | Comments (29)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #20 Posted by Mnemonix 10 years ago
I think I have nice genes.
Comment icon #21 Posted by Ninhursag 10 years ago
This goes hand in hand with the statement that serrial killers are simply genetically inclined to become that. I think this is nonsense. I can understand the fact that they might inherit some mental illnesses, but that doesn't make them murderers. Same thing with being good or nice. I think people choose what to be themsleves. Unless they've been traumatized in their childhood and that sort of things.
Comment icon #22 Posted by glorybebe 10 years ago
My belief is that it is a combination between nurture and nature. Sure, we could be born with the right genes to be nice…but if we are raised in a family setting that promotes nastiness, then a learned behaviour will definitely impact any natural inclinations.
Comment icon #23 Posted by WhyDontYouBeliEveMe 10 years ago
I'm one of the nicest people you ever know. I'm not lying. I'm super nice. And my mom and dad are nice too. proof it .. give me all your money .. then i ll find you nice and tells the world you are nice .!
Comment icon #24 Posted by IamsSon 10 years ago
The fact there are people who are nice, does not necessarily support the idea of a genetic predisposition to niceness. The most raw human reactions have to come from babies and toddlers who are still in the process of learning and what we see in these kids is that we are inherently self-interested, not inherently altruistic. You don't have to teach a baby to stop sharing, you don't have to teach a baby to throw a tantrum when they don't get what they want, you don't have to teach a child to stop taking responsibility for the "bad" things others do. No, parents spend countless hours teaching ki... [More]
Comment icon #25 Posted by Bling 10 years ago
I'm nice, and I'll kick anyone who says I'm not!
Comment icon #26 Posted by Mr Right Wing 10 years ago
Makes sense from an evolutionary psychology perspective that we evolved this trait so as to better deal with living within the safety of a tribal setting. The nice employee - 1. Has good interpersonal relationships. 2. Makes lasting friendships. 3. Leaves others with a good impression. 4. People trust and respect them. 5. Likely to be promoted into a leadership role (if they are dominant). The bad employee - 1. Has bad interpersonal relationships leading to arguments and conflicts. 2. No one likes them and has no real friends. 3. Others look for reasons to get revenge and bring them down. 4. N... [More]
Comment icon #27 Posted by Lilly 10 years ago
I'm nice until it's time to not be nice.
Comment icon #28 Posted by Orcseeker 10 years ago
I used to be nice, until life kicked it out of me. Don't let life beat you and define who you are in a negative way. Just smile in its face and continue as you.
Comment icon #29 Posted by UFO_Monster 10 years ago
I am reluctant to believe what this article entails. "Niceness" lies not in our genes, but in our will. We make choices, good or bad. Some people are born in unhappy families, and become unhappy themselves. Others might try the opposite thing, or "the Golden Rule." But what do I know? I'm no scientist...

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