If you are prone to jumping to conclusions, the reason might lie in your DNA. Learn how genomic science can uncover your full potential.
Do you frequently jump to conclusions?
Jumping to conclusions isn’t an unusual trait. While we do our best to be reasonable and maintain some flexibility, sometimes our anxieties get the better of us. We might find ourselves reflexively assigning blame without justification or assuming the worst in these situations.
Though everyone might jump to conclusions from time to time, the inclination toward making irrational assumptions can indicate a mental health disorder. In psychosis, people tend to make quick assumptions and react negatively without considering facts. Jumping to conclusions is considered one of the symptoms of psychosis -- people who suffer from mental disorders such as depression and panic disorder are prone to this type of thinking.
When stress and emotion become overwhelming, even mentally healthy people might also jump to conclusions. These symptoms can lead to communication difficulties and might affect relationships with others.
Jumping to conclusions could be a sign of emotional distress, but does that emotional distress have a genetic component?
A study published in 2021 indicated that stressful or traumatic experiences could be exacerbated by our genetic makeup and raise the risk of psychosis.
The dopamine hypothesis is widely recognized as the leading pathophysiological concept of psychosis. The catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) is one of the key enzymes involved in the degradation of dopamine. Having the Val (G allele) of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of the COMT gene, rs4680 or the Val158Met polymorphism, has been reported to be related to a nearly fourfold increase in metabolic activity of COMT compared to the Met (A allele) variant.
There is also mounting evidence suggesting that psychosocial stress can also influence dopaminergic neurotransmission. Greater dopamine release in response to psychosocial stress has also been associated with a history of childhood adversities. However, the exact mechanisms linking traumatic life events and psychosis risk remain unknown.
The study examined 535 Caucasian college students. As a candidate polymorphism, rs4680 in the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene (COMT) was selected because it is well known to regulate dopamine activity. The Traumatic Events Checklist -- a 29-item self-reported questionnaire covering emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse -- was used to record traumatic life events.
The association results showed that participants with at least one copy of the Met (A) allele and who experienced traumatic life events were more likely to jump to conclusions compared to Met carriers without a history of traumatic life events. On the other hand, participants with the GG genotype did not show such an effect of traumatic life events on jumping to conclusions.
In summary, this study indicates that the effects of traumatic life events on psychosis proneness might appear in subjects with the COMT genotype associated with worse enzymatic activity who report high levels of cognitive biases.
There are limitations to this study. The study population was limited to non-clinical samples. Experiences were self-reported. Clearly, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between our genetic makeup and cognitive biases like jumping to conclusions.
If you feel you are predisposed to jumping to conclusions, you can learn if your genetic makeup is a factor. Simply upload the raw DNA file you received from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or another provider to unearth your genetic profile.
At Genomelink, we offer comprehensive DNA file analysis, providing a more complete picture of your genetic makeup and your potential.
We’re here to empower you with the information you need to make the best health and lifestyle choices. Want to learn more about how your genes influence your personality? Sign up with Genomelink today!