By Maia Szalavitz Thursday, November 17, 2011 | 5 Comments
Can you tell at first glance if someone is likely to be a good partner or parent? New research suggests that observers can identify the most nurturing and socially sensitive people, just by watching their behavior for 20 seconds — and that these highly empathetic people are more likely to have a gene variation associated with trust and caring.
The genetic variation affects the receptor for oxytocin, often referred to as the “love hormone” or “cuddle chemical” because it plays a role in social bonding, trust, empathy and generosity. Levels of oxytocin increase during orgasm and childbirth, and it helps the formation of bonds between friends, lovers, and parents and children.
Also see How Long Does It Take Someone To Judge You?, Can a Hormone Cure Shyness?, Does Oxytocin Make You Nice to Everyone?, Is Your Popularity Genetic? and Can You Blame Unhappiness on Your Genetic Makeup?