Scientists have shown that genetics is the key behind every aspect of human behavior and this includes happiness; some people are genetically more inclined to happiness than others. The new research has shown a very interesting link between genetics and a nation’s happiness. It says – ‘Closer a nation is to the genetic makeup of Denmark, the happier the country is.’ So why is it that nations genetically similar to Denmark are happier? That’s what this study has shown.
The research was carried out by economists at the University of Warwick by lead researchers Dr. Eugenio Proto and Professor Andrew Oswald. They found three forms of evidence for a link between genetic makeup and a nation’s happiness.
Firstly, data from 131 countries was collected from a number of international surveys. Using this, the researchers cross linked national data on genetic distance and well being. The results were surprising as researchers found that the greater the difference in genetics of a particular nation and Denmark, the lower is the reported well being of that country. This data used had been adjusted so that all the factors influencing the happiness of a nation were observed, this included Gross Domestic Product, Culture, Religion and the strength of the welfare state and geography.
Second evidence came from study of a particular gene mutation that influences the reuptake of serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for mood changes and is associated with mental wellbeing.
Researchers looked at an existing research that suggested that the long and short variants of that gene are correlated with different probabilities of clinical depression. The short version of the gene is associated with higher neuroticism and lower life satisfaction.
Among the 30 nations included in this study, Denmark and Netherlands had the lowest percentage of people with this short version.
Last Evidence came from studying the link between genetics and the happiness across generations, continents and Atlantic ocean. Data on the wellbeing of Americans was used and scientists looked at which part of the world their ancestors came from. A positive correlation was observed between happiness today of those nations where American ancestors came from and Americans whose ancestors came from those nations. These observations remained true even after controlling for personal income and religion.
According of the researchers the results are quite contrary to their assumptions and it seems that genetic patterns can help scientists understand international well being.
- Reference: National Happiness and Genetic Distance: A Cautious Exploration (PDF)[IZA]
- Source: University of Warwick
- Image: EuropeWorld