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Being a good Samaritan could be influenced by genetics

| October 18, 2013

What motivates people to stop and help others that they didn’t previously know, with no apparent benefit to themselves?

Traditionally, we’ve viewed people who engage in prosocial behavior — that is, voluntary acts performed to benefit others or society as a whole — as being motivated by moral character or spiritual beliefs. But in recent years, increasing evidence has emerged to suggest that the tendency to be a do-gooder may be influenced by genes.

In a newly-published study in the journal Social Neuroscience, for example, researchers found that a single variation in a genotype seems to affect whether or not a person engages in prosocial acts. Individuals who have one variation of the genotype have a tendency toward social anxiety — that is, unease around other people, and are less inclined to help others in ways that involve personal interaction.

Read the full, original story here: Is Being a Good Samaritan a Matter of Genes?

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