U.S. News & World Report:
As scientists continue to tease out the impact of nature versus nurture, it appears that kids unlucky enough to get a “downer” personality gene can end up with sunnier outlooks when they’re parented in a warm, positive manner.
A new study on nearly 1,900 children aged 9 through 15 with a gene variation predisposing them to lower serotonin levels in the brain — which can lead to a gloomier disposition — suggests the youths were more likely to maintain happier emotions when exposed to positive parenting. So-called “genetically susceptible” children who experienced unsupportive parenting showed fewer positive emotions in the three independent experiments comprising the study.
Study author Benjamin L. Hankin, an associate professor of clinical child and developmental cognitive neuroscience psychology at the University of Denver, used a horticultural analogy of weeds versus orchids to describe how genes and upbringing combine to affect children’s outcomes.
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