Researchers From the UBC Department of Psychology have found that being a “drama queen,” which includes such behavior as crying during romantic movies and craving attention, could be hereditary.
This being the case, if a person starts welling up for no good reason or searching for drama somewhere, they may well have their parents to blame, as apparently the emotional state is genetic.
Accordingly, carriers of the gene also showed significantly more brain activity reflecting EEV in key regions of the brain sensitive to emotional relevance.
The fascinating study, which was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that carriers of a certain genetic variation perceived positive and negative images more vividly. This was all related to the disposition of various regions in the brain.
The head author of the study, Rebecca Todd, told reporters, “People really do see the world differently. For people with this gene variation, the emotionally relevant things in the world stand out much more.”
ADRA2b is the gene in question, and it is thought to influence the neurotransmitter norepinephrine.
Todd said the results of the new study were astounding.
“We thought, from our previous research, that people with the deletion variant would probably show this emotionally enhanced vividness, and they did more than we would even have predicted.”
As such, Todd believes that some people are simply more susceptible to emotional conditions, such as PTSD.
“Emotions are not only about how feel about the world, but how our brains influence our perception of it,” she said.
Another author of the study, Adam Anderson, added, “As our genes influence how we literally see the positive and negative aspects of our world more clearly, we may come to believe the world has more rewards or threats.”
It’s not all bad news though, as Todd pointed out that there are positive aspects to having the ADRA2b gene.
“People who have the deletion variant are drawing on an additional network in their brains important for calculating the emotional relevance of things in the world. In any situation where noticing what’s relevant in the environment is important, this gene variation would be a positive.”
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