Common variant in OXTR predicts growth in positive emotions from loving-kindness training

Suzannah F. Isgett, Sara B. Algoe, Aaron J. Boulton, Baldwin M. Way, Barbara L. Fredrickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Ample research suggests that social connection reliably generates positive emotions. Oxytocin, a neuropeptide implicated in social cognition and behavior, is one biological mechanism that may influence an individual's capacity to extract positive emotions from social contexts. Because variation in certain genes may indicate underlying neurobiological differences, we tested whether several SNPs in two genes related to oxytocin signaling would show effects on positive emotions that were context-specific, depending on sociality. For six weeks, a sample of mid-life adults (N = 122) participated in either socially-focused loving-kindness training or mindfulness training. During this timespan they reported their positive emotions daily. Five SNPs within OXTR and CD38 were assayed, and each was tested for its individual effect on daily emotions. The hypothesized three-way interaction between time, training type, and genetic variability emerged: Individuals homozygous for the G allele of OXTR rs1042778 experienced gains in daily positive emotions from loving-kindness training, whereas individuals with the T allele did not experience gains in positive emotions with either training. These findings are among the first to show how genetic differences in oxytocin signaling may influence an individual's capacity to experience positive emotions as a result of a socially-focused intervention.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages244-251
Number of pages8
JournalPsychoneuroendocrinology
Volume73
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

Fingerprint

Emotions
Growth
Oxytocin
Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
Alleles
Mindfulness
Neuropeptides
Cognition
Genes
Research

Keywords

  • Affective science
  • Genetics
  • Meditation
  • Oxytocin
  • Positive psychology
  • Vantage sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

Common variant in OXTR predicts growth in positive emotions from loving-kindness training. / Isgett, Suzannah F.; Algoe, Sara B.; Boulton, Aaron J.; Way, Baldwin M.; Fredrickson, Barbara L.

In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, Vol. 73, 01.11.2016, p. 244-251.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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