Charles S. Carver

Tabak, B. A., McCullough, M. E., Carver, C. S., Pedersen, E. J., & Cuccaro, M. L. (2014). Variation in oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphisms is associated with emotional and behavioral reactions to betrayal. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 810-816. DOI:10.1093/scan/nst042

Variations in the gene that encodes the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) have been associated with variations in several aspects of social-cognitive functioning, including several prosocial behaviors. To date, no study has investigated OXTR as a predictor of reactions to betrayals of trust while cooperating for mutual benefit. We examined how variation in 10 SNPs on OXTR predicted behavior, emotional reactions, and partner perceptions following a betrayal of trust in an iterated prisoner's dilemma game. After correction for multiple testing, one haplotype (C-rs9840864, T-rs2268494) was significantly associated with faster retaliation post-betrayal-an association that appeared to be due to this haplotype's intermediate effect of exacerbating people's anger after they had been betrayed. Furthermore, one haplotype (A-rs237887, C-rs2268490) was associated with higher levels of post-betrayal happiness, and one haplotype (G-rs237887, C-rs2268490) was associated with lower levels of post-betrayal happiness.

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