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Social Intelligence

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on December 14, 2011 at 1:13:49 am

DIYgenomics Social Intelligence Study

www.DIYgenomics.org homepage

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Contact @DIYgenomics or email "studies at DIYgenomics.org" for more information or to participate.


Title: Social Intelligence Study: Assessing Genotype-Phenotype Linkage in Optimism, Empathy, Extraversion, and Altruism


Summary: Mental performance and social intelligence genomics is an important new area of research with many recent studies investigating potential linkage between personal genetic profiles and aspects of social intelligence. This study seeks to investigate the overall social intelligence profile of individuals by examining genetic profiles and responses to phenotypic questionnaires.


Hypothesis: Individuals with certain genetic profiles (e.g.; the favorable genotype) may have greater natural capacity for characteristics of social intelligence.


Genotype data: Specifically three genetic polymorphisms will be reviewed: OXTR rs53576,[i],[ii],[iii] DRD2/ANKK1 rs1800497,[iv] and COMT Val158Met rs4680,[v] which other studies have associated respectively with optimism and empathy, extraversion, and altruism.


Phenotype data: Standardized online survey instruments will be used for the phenotypic assessment of optimism, empathy, extraversion, and altruism. The same instruments used in the initial studies may be used and/or supplemented with other recognized standards used by researchers in these fields.

  • General personality indicator
    • Big Five Personality Test (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) (44 questions) (REQUIRED)
    • NEO Personality Inventory-Revised (NEO PI-R) (300 questions) (OPTIONAL)
  • Empathy
    • Self-reported empathy
      • IRI – Interpersonal Reactivity Index (28 questions) (REQUIRED)
      • Empathy Quotient test (Baron-Cohen) (60 questions) (OPTIONAL)
    • Behavioral empathy
      • Reading the Mind in the Eyes (Baron-Cohen) (OPTIONAL)
    • Video and audio empathy tests
      • Reading the Mind in Films (Baron-Cohen) (OPTIONAL)
      • Reading the Mind in Voice (Baron-Cohen) (OPTIONAL)
  • Optimism
    • Life Orientation Test – Revised (10 questions) (REQUIRED)
  • Extraversion
    • (Same as above) Big Five Personality Test (Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism) (44 questions) (REQUIRED)


  • Altruism


Study conduct: The study will be conducted in a healthy crowdsourced cohort. Enrollment will be open and ongoing, with at least 100 participants sought for the first phase of data analysis. Study recruitment and operation will be via the internet-based health collaboration community Genomera.com. The process is that participants will join the study, complete an informed consent process, agree to share personal genotyping data for the required variants, and complete the online survey instruments. Personalized feedback will be provided to participants.


Study phases: Phase I investigates whether the findings of previous studies are replicated in the citizen science cohort. Phase II may explore causality of these personality traits with online questionnaires aimed at belief elicitation and other attributes, whether suggested recommendation and interventions worked in improving social intelligence and the display of desired traits in individuals, and user experience with the study.


Attachments (to be added later)

  • Informed consent agreement
  • Study recruitment materials


[i] Saphire-Bernstein S, Way BM, Kim HS, Sherman DK, Taylor SE. Oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) is related to psychological resources. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Sep 13;108(37):15118-22.

[ii] Kogan A, Saslow LR, Impett EA, Oveis C, Keltner D, Rodrigues Saturn S. Thin-slicing study of the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene and the evaluation and expression of the prosocial disposition. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Nov 14.

[iii] Rodrigues SM, Saslow LR, Garcia N, John OP, Keltner D. Oxytocin receptor genetic variation relates to empathy and stress reactivity in humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Dec 15;106(50):21437-41.

[iv] Smillie LD, Cooper AJ, Pickering AD. Individual differences in reward-prediction-error: extraversion and feedback-related negativity. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2011 Oct;6(5):646-52.

[v] Reuter M, Frenzel C, Walter NT, Markett S, Montag C. Investigating the genetic basis of altruism: the role of the COMT Val158Met polymorphism. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2011 Oct;6(5):662-8.


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