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A Possible Connections Between Oxytocin and Instagram

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Researchers discovered people with a specific variant of the oxytocin receptor gene OXTR follow more people on Instagram. However, there no evidence was found to suggest gene-environment interactions influence online sociability.
Summary:

Source: Cell Press

A small study in college students found that individuals with a specific variant in the oxytocin receptor gene OXTR follow more people on Instagram, researchers report September 22 in the journal Heliyon. However, the investigation did not find evidence that gene-environment interactions influence online sociability.

"The present results should be interpreted with a great degree of caution in the panorama of genetic association studies," says senior study author Gianluca Esposito a psychologist at the University of Trento in Italy and Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. "This is a small initial investigation of the phenomenon and should be followed up in different countries as well as in larger samples."

Oxytocin, which has been dubbed the love hormone, is a neuropeptide that plays a crucial role in social skills in mammals. Genetic variants called single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) within OXTR have been shown to predict parenting behavior and attachment.

Previous research has also shown that people with the G allele of the OXTR SNP rs53576 seek more social support in hostile environments compared with individuals with the A allele. In addition, individuals with the GG genotype report having greater empathy and marital satisfaction than A-allele carriers. But there has been relatively little research on gene-environment interactions in the context of online social behavior.

To address this knowledge gap, Esposito and his collaborators investigated whether OXTR interacts with an environmental factor—adult attachment—to influence Instagram behavior. A total of 57 students enrolled at the Nanyang Technological University in…
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