Researchers are finally beginning to understand how the behavior of an individual is formulated.
Recent study shows that behavior is a function of genes, and environmental factors that trigger these genes. The reason why there is so much variety in behavior is attributed to variants of a gene – a gene that is common in a population. It is a joint effect of both the variants of genes which allow the environmental factors that vary from person to person to exhibit a particular behavior. It is also found that genes have effect on other genes, as well.
A group of 1,337 high school kids of age 17 and 18 was analysed by the researchers at Vastmanland. These teenagers were given a questionnaire where they had to answer questions pertaining to sexual abuse, quality of relationship with their parents, family conflict and delinquencies. The sample for the study was also required to provide with a sample of their salivat is a complex play of genes and their effect as a whole that determine failure of fulfilling responsibilities or delinquency. Three variants of genes were found to interact along with environmental factor to increase or decrease delinquency.
One enzyme that was linked with antisocial behavior in men and women was found to be mono-amine-oxidase A (MAO-A). This enzyme breaks down neurotransmitters in the brain to release energy. For men to exhibit a higher level of antisocial behavior through childhood to adulthood it was found that MAO-A gene variant was of the less active type with a history of physical abuse. Whereas, for women with higher level of antisocial behavior the MAO-A gene variant was found to have a higher activity along with the triggering environmental factor being some kind of childhood adversity.
Another association was between brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDMF) gene variants and environment. A low expressing variant is carried by 30% of the population. That and an exposure to aggressive friends trigger aggressive behavior in an individual.
The study is essentially an augmentation to similar studies which highlight that genes and gene variants pronounce behavior by altering susceptibility to the environment.