Monday, March 19, 2018

Genetics Influence Human Empathy

Empathy is a complex part of a person’s mind and allows people foster emotionally charged relationships with others. A lack of empathy is usually associated with behavioral issues, making finding out the variables that control a person’s empathy levels important. Around 46,000 23AndMe customers took part in an experiment to see if empathy levels were influenced by genetics, run by a group of scientists from the University of Cambridge and Institut Pasteur. The genetic information of the participants was then compared to their empathy quotient or EQ scored (a 50-question long test to help rate one’s empathy level) to see how much of the difference in the EQ score could be attributed to a participant’s genetics. According to the article around 10 percent could be attributed to genetic factors. However, the sample of people used was not representative of the world’s diversity.

The experiment sounded fascinating due to its hard-to-quantify subject even though it was sparsely detailed in the news article on how the calculation went from EQ score to the difference in empathy level. The news article did bring up doubt about the experiment (issues with the sample size and diversity) which is refreshing to see.
News Article-
Other article-

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