Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Free Will vs COMT

If this pans out, then Free Will has taken a hit: confirmation bias may actually be influenced by your genes...
People's willingness to let advice color their experience hinges at least in part on the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is associated with pleasure, reward and learning. The researchers pinpointed one gene in particular, COMT, that seems to play a role in a person's inclination to learn from his or her own experiences...

People with an exceptional ability to spot inaccurate instructions and start making decisions using their own experience tended to have the Val/Val version of the gene, whereas those who needed "greater confidence" that their experience was telling them to jettison earlier advice were more likely to have the Met allele.

Scientific American, "Refuse to learn from experience? Thank your genes"

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