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Combining research on genetics and cognitive biases—our mental “filters” for interpreting the world—will contribute to a greater understanding of mental disorders and could lead to improved therapies, Elaine Fox of University of Oxford and Chris Beevers of the University of Texas at Austin suggest in a perspective published yesterday (July 19) in Molecular Psychiatry.
“We suggest that while no gene ‘causes’ mental ill health, some genes can make people more sensitive to the effects of their environment—for better and for worse,” Fox said in a statement.
Studies show that cognitive bias can greatly influence sensitivity to one’s environment…for example, inducing a negative attentional bias can increase a person’s response to a stressful situation, whereas reducing the negative bias can decrease that person’s stress response.
Genetics studies have identified variants, such as the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) short (S) allele, which make people more sensitive to their environments. People with this S allele are more likely than people with the long (L) variant to develop psychiatric disorders after experiencing adversity in childhood, studies have shown.
Read full, original post: Study: Influence of Genetics on Mental Health Depends on Environment