Background. It is known that some genes regulate neurochemical metabolism, and their polymorphisms affect cognitive performance, including the ability to categorize emotionally significant information.
Objective. The aim of our study was to analyze the recognition of emotional and neutral visual scenes in carriers of different polymorphic variants of the MAOA, COMT, DRD4, and 5HT2A genes.
Design. The study sample consisted of 87 university students (Caucasians, women 63%, average age 20.4±2.6 years). The genotypes of the COMT, 5HT2A, and DRD4 genes were determined by polymerase chain reaction. Agarose gel electrophoresis was used to determine the number of tandem repeats of the MAOA gene. Three hundred sixty (360) photographic images of scenes of different emotional valence (positive, negative, and neutral – 120 images for each category) were used as stimuli. These images were classified by expert assessments. The images were presented in a random sequence. The exposure time was 700 ms. The research participants were asked to determine the emotional valence of each scene.
Results. We found that only the COMT gene genotype affected the recognition of emotional and neutral visual scenes. Carriers of the COMT Val/Val genotype, which causes dopamine to stay in the synaptic space for a shorter time, are better in recognizing and demonstrate higher sensitivity to the emotional content of scenes. Carriers of the Val/Met genotype demonstrated the worst ability to differentiate the emotional valence of visual scenes.
Conclusion. This study has shown that the length of stay of monoamines in the synaptic space regulated by the COMT gene affects the recognition of emotional visual information.
Visual scene recognition/ MAOA/ COMT/ DRD4/ 5HT2A genes
Emotional Intelligence in Carriers of Different СОМТ, BDNF, DRD2 and HTR2A Genotypes
Background. Emotional intelligence is the ability to quickly and correctly recognize the emotional expressions of other people and to express and manage one’s own emotions. It contributes to the success of a person in activities related to communication and interaction with people. Emotional intelligence has been studied largely in the context of organizational and education psychology, but less is known about the influence of genetics on it.
Objective. We aim to study emotional intelligence in carriers of different СОМТ, BDNF, DRD2, and HTR2A genotypes.
Design. We used three methods to measure emotional intelligence. Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test is a set of tasks with forced choice and frequency-based correct responses. We also applied two self-report questionnaires by Lyusin and Hall. We recruited 280 participants who took part in all three measures. We also identified their genotypes of the СОМТ, BDNF, DRD2, and HTR2A genes.
Results. Carriers of the Val/Met genotype of the COMT gene, A/A genotype of the HTR2A gene and C/C genotype of the DRD2 gene showed the highest level of emotional intelligence, while no differences were found between carriers of the BDNF genotypes. These data were obtained by using the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test. Self-report scores of emotional intelligence did not differ between carriers of different genotypes across all four of the genes in question.
Conclusion. Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test scores were differed for carriers of some genotypes, whereas self-reported emotional intelligence scores did not differ between according to genotype.