Is Sociogenomics A Relatively New Research Area That Isn 't Very Well Understood?
Sociogenomics is a relatively new research area that isn 't very well understood. Recent scholarly articles describe it as a field that explores the following: The identification of genes that influence social behavior, the understanding of the influence of these genes on underlying neural and endocrine mechanisms, and understanding the effects of the environment, particularly the social environment, on gene action.
Technological advances paired with impressive progress in molecular biology and genomics make this an appropriate time to attempt to understand the molecular basis of social life.
In Psychology 241, we were introduced to the OPRM1 gene, which is a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP). This gene can vary, in people, by a single nucleotide (A G). Ways et al. (2009) discovered that people with the G allele showed more pain activation after social rejection. In addition, these subjects show reduced opiate potency and therefore, need more morphine to counteract both physical and social pain. Ultimately, from this study, scientists made the novel discovery that specific genetic mutations (i.e. OPRMI allele) can affect our social and psychological behaviors (i.e. tolerance to social rejection).
Recently, scientists have claimed that the actual expression level of genes, at any given time, also affects our social behaviour. For example, Youssef Idaghdour and colleagues looked at the role of environmental factors on gene…