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Study: Popularity is Genetic


Aired 4/19/09

Genes affect your personality and the way you fit into social networks. That's the conclusion of a study co-written by a UCSD professor. KPBS Reporter Tom Fudge has more.

Political scientist James Fowler found genes can determine not only how many friends you have. But also how likely you are to join a click or to act as a bridge between different social groups. Fowler says he found there's wide variation ofn genetically-driven social behavior. And that means social butterflies are not necessarily better off, or better for society, than are wallflowers.

Fowler:   The fact that evolution hasn't selected for all of us to have lots and lots of friends means that there's probably a value to some people having few friends.

Fowler's study used data that compared fraternal twins to identical twins, who are genetically the same. When certain social behaviors were shared by identical twins, they were seen as genetically determined.

Tom Fudge, KPBS News. 

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