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The 'happy gene' that makes you happy



Posted On: Sept. 14, 2011

London, Sept 10 (ANI): A study has revealed that those born with a "happy gene" tend to be smiley, cheerful and more positive persons.

Professor Elaine Fox at Essex University showed more than 100 people positive and negative pictures on a computer screen, such as growling dogs and smiling children, measuring which ones they concentrated on based on a revolutionary computer based therapy

Volunteers of the study supplied a sample of their DNA and were tested to see which version of the 5-HTTLPR gene - which affects levels of the 'feel-good' chemical serotonin, they carried.

Every individual inherits either two "short" versions, a long and a short versions or two "long" versions of the gene.

Those with two short versions of the gene managed to focus on the positive images and avoid getting upset by the negative ones and is the same one which has been associated with making people feel anxious and depressed, suggesting these people have a "very emotional" response to their environment.

"When times are really good, it is those with the highly reactive short genotype who really benefit," the Daily Mail quoted Fox as saying.

"They were very response to positive images which suggests they will thrive in a supportive environment, but previous research shows they can also go under, and will be particularly devastated by a traumatic experience.

"It suggests these people are very susceptible to emotional aspects of their environment. Those with the long version are less reactive which means that they often fare best in fairly benign conditions but they perhaps would not gain as much from a good experience," he stated.

The researchers described the finding as a mechanism, which seems to explain our levels of resilience to life's general stress.

The research has been published online in Biological Psychiatry. (ANI)

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