Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Science and Personality (part 3)

During a study of social behavior, participants were evaluated through a number of tests that measured their social skills, their brain structure, and its function. They were presented with videos of people's faces, beginning with a neutral expression that gradually changed into an emotional expression--the participants just needed to press a button when they were confident of how that person was feeling. Participants with greater methylation of the OXT gene (and thus, had lower oxytocin levels) were less accurate in their descriptions of the emotional states of the people in the videos and pictures. This same characteristic is associated with autism. Participants also had their brains scanned with an MRI during some of the testing, and the results showed reduced activity in areas of the brain associated with sociability. It was also discovered that the participants had reduced amounts of grey matter in areas important for face processing and social cognition.

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