Being caring, trustworthy and kind could be in our DNA. A new study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by researchers from California, Oregon and Toronto have identified a gene variation that seems to be linked with being caring and trustworthy. Sounds kind of far-fetched to me. But the study makes an interesting point. When 23 couples were videotaped having each partner describe a moment of suffering, outside viewers rated how caring, kind and trustworthy he or she reacted to their partner as they told the story. Interestingly, those who were rated “pro-social” had the genotype for kindness while those who were rated “least trusted” had the genotype for less empathy and parental sensitivity. Furthermore, the viewers only needed 20 seconds to rate the couples. Seems first impressions really do make an impact!
So what does this mean? Will there soon be genetically engineered kind people? Does it mean that unkind people are off the hook to change their behavior because they can’t help themselves? Most of us are a mixed bag, all prone to being kind and unkind at times. And even of there is a kindness gene and we don’t have it, genetics are not everything. Practicing kindness regularly enough to form a habit changes your brain chemistry and literally a working part of your mind. So gene or no gene. we can all engineer our bodies, minds and souls for the good.