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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Born to be nice

See, folks, I was born nice, so just shut your nasty mouths, OK?

Many times, two siblings raised by the same parents, and subject to similar environmental influences, can turn out to be polar opposites: one kind and generous, the other mean-spirited. A new study reveals that the latter might simply have been dealt the wrong hormone receptor genes.

Oxytocin and vasopressin, two hormones that inspire feelings of love and generosity when they flood our brains, bind to neurons by attaching to molecules called receptors, which can come in different forms. The new research, led by psychologist Michel Poulin of the University of Buffalo, suggests that if you have the genes that give you certain versions of those hormone receptors, you're more likely to be a nice person than if you have the genes for one of the other versions. However, the researchers found that the genes work in concert with a person's upbringing and life experiences to determine how sociable — or anti-social — he or she becomes.

At least they bother to point out that genes aren't everything -- factors like upbringing and life experierences also count. But they also could have added the exercise of free will. What about somebody with the wrong genes, a bad upbringing and horrible life experiences and still manages to be nice. there's somebody whose niceness really impresses and should get extra credit.