A Gene May Cause Impulsive Behavior During Bad Economic Times

Does the 'Orchid Gene' lead to child abuse in crisis?

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Even though unemployment was still on the rise in 2009, the fears of plummeting into a true economic crisis had abated, and harsh parenting rates slowed down. Though unemployment was still increasing, its rate had slowed, which gave people hope. Garfinkel says that when people are "in a bad situation for a long time, they adjust to it."

Garfinkel's discovery raises the question of what parents and psychological health professionals should do with this information. A saliva test can easily determine whether a person has the orchid gene, but that targeting the gene is, at this time, technologically impossible and morally questionable, he says.

"I think parents will wonder if they have the sensitive gene. If you have it, and you have a spouse, I think people need to take care to relax and watch one another's behavior," he says. "But if this was only a bad gene, it would have died out. We have some evidence that there must be some advantage to having this gene."

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