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Faculty of Economics

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Apicella, C. L., Cesarini, D., Johannesson, M., Dawes, C. T., Lichtenstein, P., Wallace, B., Beauchamp, J. and Westber, L.

No association between Oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene polymorphisms and experimentally elicited social preferences


Vol. 5 no. 6 (2010)

Abstract: Background Oxytocin (OXT) has been implicated in a suite of complex social behaviors including observed choices in economic laboratory experiments. However, actual studies of associations between oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene variants and experimentally elicited social preferences are rare. Methodology/Principal Findings We test hypotheses of associations between social preferences, as measured by behavior in two economic games, and 9 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of the OXTR gene in a sample of Swedish twins (n = 684). Two standard economic games, the dictator game and the trust game, both involving real monetary consequences, were used to elicit such preferences. After correction for multiple hypothesis testing, we found no significant associations between any of the 9 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) and behavior in either of the games. Conclusion We were unable to replicate the most significant association reported in previous research between the amount donated in a dictator game and an OXTR genetic variant.

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