Gene: Eyes and Personality

Source: An instant guide to someone’s personality? The eyes have it,  18-02-2007

THE eyes are the window to the soul, it is said. Now scientists have found that the patterns in someone’s iris may give important clues about their personality, ranging from how warm and trusting they are to whether they are impulsive or neurotic.

“Our results suggest people with different iris features tend to develop along different personality lines,” said Mats Larsson, a behavioural scientist who led the study at Orebro University in Sweden.

For the new study, which is awaiting publication in the journal Biological Psychology, scientists at Orebro and at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm analysed the eyes of 428 people and tested their personalities.

The researchers argue that as much as 90% of the differences in people’s irises are due to genetic variation and they are particularly interested in one gene called Pax6, which helps to set the formation of the iris in embryos. Other research has shown that a mutation in this gene is linked to impulsiveness and poor social skills.

Abstract here:

Variable and person-oriented analyses were used to explore the associations between personality and three previously untested general iris characteristics: crypts, pigment dots and contraction furrows. Personality data, as measured by the NEO PI-R and ratings of iris characteristics from 428 undergraduate students were collected. Crypts were significantly associated with five approach-related behaviors, i.e., feelings, tendermindedness, warmth, trust and positive emotions, whereas furrows were associated with impulsiveness. These findings suggest that because Pax6 induces tissue deficiencies in both the iris and the left anterior cingulate cortex, Pax6 may influence the extent people engage in approach-related behaviors. The results from using a person-oriented analysis suggested that people with different iris configurations tend to develop along different personality trajectories. Future longitudinal studies, twin-studies and genetic association studies, may benefit from collecting iris data and testing candidate genes for crypts and furrows.

Keywords: Personality; Iris characteristics/crypts/pigment dots/contraction furrows; Candidate genes/Pax6/Six3/Lmx1b; Anterior cingulate; Hemispheric asymmetries

Some blog discussed about it, like here and here.

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