Dictatorship is linked to gene, says study
Hitler, Mussolini and Napoleon had one attribute in common- dictatorship. The researchers from Hebrew University in Jerusalem have linked cruelty and oppressive behaviour with a gene called AVPR1a gene. This study has been published in the journal Genes, Brain and Behavior.
This study will help to focus on people who chose ruthlessness or have Machiavellian streak to grab money and climb the ladder of success. (Machiavelli was a historical figure whose name is associated with astute, cunning and unscrupulous political behaviour).
The research headed by Richard Ebstein tries to draw a link with tendencies that lead a person to become a national dictator to ‘little Hitler’ found in workplaces the world over.
The participants were allowed to play ‘Dictator Game’ which allow participants to behave selflessly or like the dictators in office or nation.
The research team targeted AVPR1 gene which is known to be associated with receptors in brain that detect vasopressin, a diuretic hormone in the blood which is involved with pro social behaviour.
The team was in awe as whether differences in how vasopressin receptor is expressed in the human brain may make different people more or less likely to behave generously.
The researchers before asking the participants to play the game analysed their DNA samples and interestingly there was no connection between the participant’s gender and their behaviour but there was a link to the length of the AVPRIa gene.
Eibstein explained that those who have tendency to become a tyrant derive less pleasure from altruistic acts which make them behave in a particular way.
However, the researchers have yet to know the mechanism by which the gene influences behaviour, but they are sure that ruthlessness has its connection with genes.
On the other hand, Nicholas Bardsley at the University of Southampton, UK, who studied the Dictator Game, has cautioned the researchers to be careful in using such games to analyse people’s altruistic behaviour.
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