Kaveh Moravej

Are Your Genes Influencing Your Analytical Conclusions?

Interesting new research that has relevance for analysts of all kinds, finds that a previously known gene variant may predispose individuals to perceive negative events more vividly than others.

According to psychological scientist Rebecca Todd of the University of British Columbia, ?This is the first study to find that this genetic variation can significantly affect how people see and experience the world. The findings suggest people experience emotional aspects of the world partly through gene-colored glasses ? and that biological variations at the genetic level can play a significant role in individual differences in perception.?

The study?s 200 participants were shown positive, negative and neutral words in a rapid succession. Participants with the ADRA2b gene variant were more likely to notice negative target words than others, while both groups were able to pick out positive words better than neutral words to an equal degree.

This would suggest that in certain situations, some individuals might be more likely to focus on and emphasise the negative - mainly due to genetic influence. Given that this provides further evidence of how other factors, such as genotype (our genes) and phenotype (interaction of these genes with the environment), can unconsciously influence individual perception and subjectivity, it underlines the importance of having systematic strategies in place to minimise analytical bias.