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Rich and Co.

“Nations whose inhabitants boast a certain gene variant, they found, had much higher self-reported happiness levels.”

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Happiness at the national level was more closely related to this variant than factors like wealth, country stability, or even disease prevalence…

“Feeling happy, relaxed and in a good mood does not depend on the prosperity and safety of a country…Actually the correlation between happiness and safety seems to be inverse. The highest murder and robbery rates in the world are in northern Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa and that is precisely where the happiest and most relaxed people are.”

They compared this to data on the ethnic prevalence of “A allele”, a variant of a gene involved in regulating anandamide, a substance which enhances sensory pleasure and helps reduce pain.

The country with the highest happiness rating, Mexico, also had the highest estimated prevalence of A allele, the researchers found. Ghana and Nigeria also had high ratings for both, as did Columbia, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Iraq and Jordan, along with Hong Kong, China, Thailand and Taiwan—all of which had a low prevalence of A allele—were also the least likely to rate themselves as “very happy”.

Northern Europeans had a much higher prevalence of the A allele, and rate themselves happier than those in central and southern Europe.

The genetic data used corresponded to ethnicity, which meant researchers had to estimate “national” figures by taking into account each country’s mix of ethnic groups.

Evolution was one possible explanation for higher A allele prevalence in equatorial and tropical environments.

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Written by Rich and Co.

January 18, 2016 at 5:03 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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