By Korin Miller; photograph by Ricardo Simal
Single? Turns out your relationship hang-ups may be determined by your DNA…
Ever wondered why you’re more of a “me time” kind of girl, while your best friend loves having a BF? New research shows the answer could be in your genes.
According to a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the gene that’s responsible for controlling levels of oxytocin, aka “the love hormone”, may influence how social we are. Now, one interesting thing about oxytocin (and there are many!), is that the production of this feel-good hormone can be turned off by a process known as methlyation, which can be impacted by enviromental factors like stress and malnutrition.
For the study, researchers took samples of the 121 study participants’ saliva to test for levels of methylation on the oxytocin gene. What they found was that folks who had a more methylated version of oxytocin were also more likely to report being less social. These people also had less activity and volume in the areas of their brain that are linked to sociability. Participants with a less methylated oxytocin gene reported being more social, and were better at “reading” other people. It was as if their brains seemed better primed for sociability.
What does all this mean, exactly?
Basically, it helps explain why some people crave companionship more than others. Not only that, it shows that there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re not a “relationship person”. It’s just the way your brain functions – due to a variety of hard-to-determine factors that influence your genes. And that’s totally okay.