23 Mar 2015
Genes and circumstances contribute equally to human happiness in the short term, but genes and neurotransmitters causeÂ 80% of the range of happiness people feel in the long term, according to recent research in behavioral genetics and neurochemistry (Sharpe and Bryant 2008:1-9) 1. Genetic information derived from scientific explorations of genetic traits may have important links to understanding the basis for feelings of well-being and potentially the phenomena associated with human happiness. While non-genetic oriented research of social, political, public policy, theology and economic studies have addressed the impact of social and institutional environments on mass political attitudes and behaviors, there is a paucity of solid research on the interrelation and influence of genetic and environmental factors on these parameters. The neuroscience and genes experiments have entailed basic propositions of well being and happiness into human brain which has made science unique. On the other hands, Social Sciences especially economics, political science, theology or public policy has endeavored different aspects and corners of happiness research which made the issue not much different from what gene, neuroscience and psychology researchers have got. This paper would discuss the inevitability of the Science -Social Science Nexus in Happiness research and the findings.
Keywords: Happiness, Genes, Science Social Science Nexus, Factors of Happiness.
Across culture, people rate subjective well being as most important elements of their life and more important than material success (Diener, 2000)2. Subjective well being is equally treated here as Happiness.
In this paper we explore neurogenetics determination and its relationships with social science research on happiness throughout our lives. The abovementioned classical saying from Diener has got great value in Happiness Research. Despite the fact, the invention of Genetics Research during late 1800s flames the fire on "Nature versus Nurture" debate which has caused a rift within the scientific community, with researchers and theorists passionately defending both sides of the argument. Furthermore the Social science Researchers on Happiness has raised more issues which has become complicated to the neurogenetics researchers and by thus the inevitability of Social science and science nexus in happiness research has become more realistic.
This holds especially true in the discourse of the determination of one's happiness.Resaerchers debate Human biological make up, i.e., the happiness is determined by configuration of human genetics. Even happiness is known to be related to personality traits. However, to date, nobody has examined whether personality and subjective well-being share a common genetic structure (Weiss, Bates and Luciano, 2008)3.
Its novel approach to scientific analysis - fusing biology, psychology and sociology - was convincing to some researchers, but also thought of as unsubstantiated and too restrictive by others. The divisive line between those that supported the study of genetics within human behavioral research and those that simply dismissed its findings only grew with time, as more controversial theories and concepts began to emerge.
A result of this conflict between nature and nurture is a lack of communication between both sides of the argument. Researchers tend to view genetics and life events as separate entities - working to determine which one has greater power over the other in shaping emotional status. Genetics theorists such as David Lykken and Auke Tellegen4 focus most of their experiments on data analysis and genetics testing, while proponents of life events research such as Richard Lucas and Sonja Lyubomirsky use more of the qualitative methods, surveying specific individuals, as was familiar to sociologists. Though the differences between the two sides are stark, the two arguments can work together. Through the revelation of behavioral genetics research it is undeniable that new, significant findings in the realm of sociology will emerge. It cannot be counted out as a major force within the development of human emotion. Nevertheless, the inability of the two sides of this conflict to work together has led to numerous holes in research and conclusions by both points of view. In this paper we intend to prove that behavioral genetics greatly influences human behavior and emotion and should be taken into account in all social science research on individual happiness levels.
We will first outline the research on genetics with respect to happiness and how it has evolved. Then we will look at the response to the genetic research by those who argue that happiness is determined by life-events. The final part of the literature will be a discussion of the integration of genetics and life-events, which will include the research which as been completed and that which we believe will further the field. We will then conclude the paper with a summary of the arguments and which side our study has led us to.
The methodology adopted here is Content Analysis, historical data analysis and analysis of case studies. We have consulted data and analysis of previous reports by scientific and social science experts on happiness research. The methodology is completely based on secondary data analysis and interpretation. In analyzing those data, we have carefully selected data which are related to our themes. We have also used those data and figures to show the science-social sciences nexus of happiness research.
In her recent study, Lyubomirsky suggests that happiness is determined by three influences: 50% set point or genetic make-up; 40% intentional activity; 10% circumstance (Lyubomirsky 2007).5
In 1996, University of Minnesota researcher David Lykken studied 4,000 sets of twins born in Minnesota from 1936-1955.Â After comparing data on identical vs. fraternal twins, he came to the conclusion that 50% of one's satisfaction from life comes from genes. (Lykken, D.Â Happiness is a Stochastic Phenomenon.Â Â Minn Psychological ScienceÂ 7(3), 1996)6
Martin Seligman, PhD, at the University of Pennsylvania taught a single happiness-enhancing strategy to a group of severely depressed people.Â These individuals had difficulty staying out of bed.Â They were encouraged to log onto a Web site and engage in a simple exercise.Â The exercise involved recalling and writing down three good things that happened every day.Â Within 15 days, their depression lifted from severe to moderate to mild.Â Ninety-four percent reported relief (Authentic Happiness2002).7
Richard Davidson, known by colleagues as the king of happiness research, has been studying the link between prefrontal lobe activity and the sort of deep bliss that people who meditate experience. According to Davidson (2001)8, happiness isn't just a vague, ineffable feeling; it's a physical state of the brain-one that you can induce deliberately. As researchers have gained an understanding of the physical characteristics of a happy brain, they have come to see that those traits have a powerful influence on the rest of the body. Numerous studies (Kubzansky, Sparrow, Vokonas, & Kawachi, 2001)9 have discovered that happiness or related mental states like hopefulness, optimism, and contentment appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, diabetes, hypertension, colds, and upper respiratory infections as well.
The benefits of being happy go beyond the temporary phase of feeling "good." Happy people exhibit a high level of energy and "can do" attitude. They are emotionally intelligent and show more poise and grace in a crisis. Their immune systems are stronger, and they live longer and have more fruitful lives as a result.
Over many decades, psychological researchers have begun to place more and more emphasis on understanding influences upon mental and emotional health and well-being. Some of Seligman's own research, for instance, had focused on optimism, a trait shown to be associated with good physical health, less depression and mental illness, longer life, and, yes, greater happiness. Perhaps the most eager explorer of this terrain was University of Illinois psychologist Edward Diener, a.k.a. Dr. Happiness. For more than two decades, Diener had been examining what does and does not make people feel satisfied with life. Seligman's goal was to shine a light on such work and encourage much, much more of it.
A recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that people ages 20 to 24 are sad for an average of 3.4 days a month, as opposed to just 2.3 days for people ages 65 to 74. The earlier notion - "where you live makes you happy", has recently been challenged by the work of North and others (NorthÂ et al. 2008)10.Â They suggest thatÂ happiness can change and underscore the importance of exploring more deeply the role that family relationships play in facilitating such change and this is not related to economic status (Wenz, 1977)11. Similarly, the idea thatÂ marriage increases happiness has been challenged by the evidence that married people may have been happier than single people because the former were happier to begin with.
Genes carry the instructions for the construction of neurotransmitters, their receptor and re-absorption portals. They also impart information on such things as their storage and release rates. Hence, genes can influence the prevalence, scarcity, and activity of serotonin and dopamine, and, in turn, whatever behaviors and feelings these neurotransmitters induce.
For each of us, our happiness fluctuates within a small range that our genes largely determine. So concludes Dean Hamer in his review of studies on the role of genes in happiness or misery.
Hamer12 directs our attention to two of the more thanÂ 300Â known neurotransmitters, dopamine (the brain's chemical for pleasure) and serotonin, the petrochemical for misery. Neurotransmitters pass information from the synapse or junction between a nerve cell and another nerve cell or a muscle. The nerve cell's bulbous end releases them from storage when an electrical impulse moving along the nerve reaches it. Then they cross the junction to dock at the other nerve cell's receptor, and either prompt or inhibit the impulses along the second cell. The first nerve cell reabsorbs excess neurotransmitters, but not necessarily all of them. Those that remain free-floating help create our happy or miserable states of being.
'How you feel right now is about equally genetic and circumstantial,' says Hamer. 'But how you will feel on average over the next ten years is fullyÂ 80% because of your genes' (HamerÂ 1996:Â 125).13
Further evidence for a physical/biochemical basis of happiness comes from neuroanatomy.Â Richard LaneÂ and his colleagues' preliminary research indicate that feelings of happiness, sadness, and disgust all co-occur with increased brain activity in the thalamus and medial prefrontal cortex. Greater activity near the ventral medial frontal cortex distinguishes happiness from sadness, whilst happiness correlates with significant increases in bilateral activity near the middle and posterior temporal cortex and hypothalamus. Lane concludes that, 'spatially distributed brain regions participate in each emotion' (Lane, et al.Â 1997:930)14.
Identical twins (those with the same genetic makeup) attain the same level of happinessÂ 44Â percent of the time. In comparison, fraternal twins, those who share genes as do ordinary siblings, reach the same level only eight percent of the time. Hamer adds: 'These data show that the broad heritability of well-being isÂ 40Â toÂ 50%' (HamerÂ 1996:Â 125)15. Studies by David Lykken and Auke Tellegen assess the happiness of twins over five to ten years, and show the slight impact of sex, age, race, and marital status, and the short-term influence of job loss or lottery winning.
A recent report by psychologists Christopher Lewis and Stephen Joseph16 suggests that the Depression-Happiness Scale (which psychologists use to calculate happiness) measures happiness as a trait rather than a state, with subjects' scores on the scale remaining relatively stable over a two-year period. Other studies show that a person's level of happiness remains stable over many years. Inherited genes account for the majority of this level.
Figure- 1:Â Happiness genes
Alcoholism, Substance abuse, craving behavior, cocaine dependence, smoking, ADHD, parenting, Obesity, video gaming, sexual activity, posttraumatic stress disorder schizophrenia, Parkinson's, brain metabolism, BMI, executive functioning, love styles (EROS) pathological gambling. Pathological aggression, schizoid/avoidant behavior, criminal activity, politics party attachment. Energy, hypertension. Hyperphagia, growth, sexual maturation, brain development, depression, anorexia, bulimia, fibromyalgia, pain sensitivity, hunger, novelty seeking, extraversion, early onset sexual intercourse, defense style (lying), oppositional defiant disorder, panic disorder, developmental personality, Tourette Syndrome, Parkinson's, executive dysfunctioning, pleasure "buzz"
Smoking dependence, parental rule-setting, Schizophrenia, cognition deficit, alcohol and opiate dependence, pleasurable "buzz",
Eating disorders, obesity, Insulin resistance, love styles (romantic), suicide, ADHD, Panic disorders, impulsive aggression, cognitive impulsivity, anger, sweet tooth, antidepressant treatment outcomes, fibromyalgia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality, smoking behavior, cocaine dependence, BMI.
(kappa -opioid receptor)
Alcohol and heroin dependence. Pain mechanisms and tolerance.
Pleasure "buzz", smoking addiction, heroin addiction, alcoholism, pain sensitivity, BMI, type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Psychiatric and affective disorders, alcoholism, substance use disorder, smoking, post-surgical pain, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease, ADHD.
Post-surgical pain, cocaine abuse, alcohol dependence, smoking behavior, juvenile delinquency, pathological aggression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, impulsive aggression, cognitive impulsivity.
Heroin addiction, migraine, impulsive behavioral aggression, cognitive -impulsivity, ADHD, alcoholism.
Pain mechanism, healing mechanisms, circulation, hypertension, cardiovascular.
Type 2 diabetes, Obesity, Insulin sensitivity, Body composition, eating disorders, BMI, physical exercise, common metabolic disorders, body mass, waist circumference, inflammatory response, immune system.
Plasma triglycerides, triglyceridemia, obesity ,,improves plasma glucose,
Severe obesity, food intake, adiposity, body mass, energy intake, BMI, fat mass, pleasurable "buzz".
Inflammation, mortality, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, BMI, Immune response.
Proinflamamtory, immunoregulation, apotosis, substance use disorder.
BMI, Schizophrenia, stress, obesity risk, food intake, craving behavior, diabetes, insulin sensitivity, adiposity, body composition, linear growth, metabolic factors, hyperphagia, cocaine dependence, lipogenesis, modulation of sweet substances, anorexia, bulimia, cardiovascular effects, fertility, sexual maturation, brain development, depression, fatty acid metabolism, hunger,
Pain sensitivity, bipolar affective disorder, ADHD, alcoholism, Substance Use Disorder, violent behavior, juvenile delinquency, smoking, child abuse, suicide, criminal activity, posttraumatic stress disorder, anti-depressant treatment response, alcoholism, panic disorder, schizophrenia, pathological gambling.
Metabolic syndrome, adiposity, fat mass, energy intake, obesity, lipogenesis, type 2 diabetes, BMI.
Obesity, BMI, overeating, metabolic syndrome, anthropometric measures, schizophrenia, temporal lobe epilepsy, immune system, type 2 diabetes, physical activity, BONE DENSITY (OSTEOPOROSIS).
Autism, alcoholism, stresses response.
Autism, alcoholism, stress.
Â Cardiovascular disease, Homocysteine levels, obesity, fat mass, Schizophrenia.
(CARBOHYDRATE BINDING ELEMENT)
Plasma triglycerides, glucose craving behavior, obesity.
Angiogenesis factor, cognition, tissue healing, pain sensitivity, oxidative stress.
Financial risk taking, nicotine withdrawal, ADHD, novelty seeking, Alcoholism, aggression, impulsivity, delinquency, memory deficits, anger, temperament, schizophrenia, sexual intercourse, drug abuse, extraversion, obesity, stress, emotional reactivity, infant attachment, oppositional defiant disorder, fibromyalgia, hyperphagia, alcohol craving, pathological gambling, panic disorder, developmental personality, Tourette Syndrome, Parkinson's.
Antidepressant treatment outcome, Parkinson's, ADHD, cocaine and methamphetamine dependence, spirituality "GOD Gene".
Circadian system, mood, bipolar, endocrine and metabolic rhythms, stress, reproduction, morphine dependence
Sleep anxiety, alcoholism
Hyperphagis and energy regulation
Source: Blum, K et.al. (2009)17
The abovementioned Table showed the genes and its associations with different Situations.
Genetic factors may also contribute to the drug abuse-derived pleasure form; in one genomic study on rats exposed to chronic methamphetamine abuse, the SLC6A gene and its variants were shown to be altered upon exposure to methamphetamine (Kobeissy, et al., 2008)(Gold, et al., 2009).18 This disorder is due to genetic defects in the dopamine reward pathways. As a result of such defects the natural rewards are no longer sufficient to improve mood and provide pleasure, and affected individuals pursue an excessive amount of "unnatural rewards" such as from alcohol, nicotine, drugs, gambling, sex and risk taking in the form of dangerous sports, such bungie and base jumping, sky diving, extreme skiing, race car driving, video gaming and others to stimulate their reward pathways.
The SLC6A gene is involved in cocaine abuse, alcohol dependence, smoking behavior, juvenile delinquency, pathological aggression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, impulsive aggression, cognitive impulsity and is a major component in the happiness gene map (seeÂ Figure 1Â andÂ Table 1). In 1995 Kenneth Blum coined the term "RDS (Blum et al. 1996; Comings et al 2000; Blum et al. 2000).19
The fact that drugs of abuse such as alcohol, cocaine, speed and nicotine stimulate the release of dopamine explains part of the question of why humans become addicted to things; this does not explain why some people have serious problems with addictions. While environmental factors play a role, there is a significant variation in addictive potential among individuals exposed to the same environment or even substances ( Hoebel, Avena, Borcarsly, & Rada, 2009,Â Comings and Blum 2000).20Â Â
Another facet of certain environmental elements that may affect one's happiness and ultimately longevity is "being in control". Langer (1989)21 carried out a landmark study that suggested that "being in control" resulted in greater longevity. In his study performed in a nursing home for the elderly, one group of subjects was given a plant and told to look after it, they were responsible for the plant's health. Another group was also given a plant but told that the staff would look over the plant. Over the next 18 months twice as many of those who were not "in control" of their plants died compared to those "in control" of their plants.
A test of this hypothesis has been successfully carried out by others in two strains of rodents. One strain liked drinking alcohol more than drinking water; the other strain did not. If the preference for alcohol was due to a defect in the dopamine D2 receptor, then increasing the level of D2 receptor in the reward pathways should eliminate the alcohol preference. This was accomplished by injecting copies of the D2 receptor gene directly in the nucleus accumbens. This resulted in a temporary over expression of the D2 receptors that lasted several days. The over expression of the D2 receptor gene reduces alcohol intake demonstrating that high levels of the D2 receptor gene are protective against alcohol abuse (Thanos et al 2001).22
Post (2005)23 suggests that altruism and volunteerism are associated with happiness, improved mood, enhanced self-esteem, and better mental and physical health; and that helping others, per se, may be a major part of the increased longevity seen in religious versus non-religious individuals. However others have rejected the idea that religion was a key factor. They concluded in their studies of over 8,832 subjects that volunteering, rather than its religious context, explained the beneficial effects and happiness (MusickÂ et al. 1999)24.Â These findings are not so simple and cannot be taken without understanding thatÂ we really cannot determine whether a confound drives an observed correlation. That is, that correlational data is always vulnerable to potential third-variable confounds.
As we stated earlier, wealth does not necessarily correlate with happiness. In fact, as pointed out in Comings25 bookÂ "Did Man Create God,"Â a major reason for the lack of correlation between Gross National Product (GNP) and happiness is that people quickly adapt to a wide range of circumstances. He stated, "Someone inheriting or winning a great deal of money may be temporarily be happier, but they soon settle back to their previous innate level of happiness. The same holds for those with progressively increasing yearly incomes."
In support of this notionÂ Allen ParducciÂ (1995)26 suggested that after each raise, people adapt and return to a previous level of happiness (a set point genetically programmed), a phenomena he termedÂ "hedonic treadmill."
Source: Ibid, 2009 27
For most of its history, psychology has concerned itself with all that ails the human mind: anxiety, depression, neurosis, obsessions, paranoia, delusions, etc., and the behaviors they produce. The goal of practitioners has been to bring patients from a negative ailing state to a neutral normal state. Or, as University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman puts it, "from a minus five to a zero" (Seligman 2002)28.
In the tabe-1, we could see that DRD2 genes has associations with the psychological functions like Alcoholism, Substance abuse, craving behavior, cocaine dependence, smoking, ADHD, parenting, Obesity, video gaming, sexual activity, posttraumatic stress disorder schizophrenia, Parkinson's, brain metabolism, BMI, executive functioning, love styles (EROS) pathological gambling. Pathological aggression, schizoid/avoidant behavior, criminal activity, politics party attachment. Energy, hypertension. Hyperphagia, growth, sexual maturation, brain development, depression, anorexia, bulimia, fibromyalgia, pain sensitivity, hunger, novelty seeking, extraversion, early onset sexual intercourse, defense style (lying), oppositional defiant disorder, panic disorder, developmental personality, Tourette Syndrome, Parkinson's, executive dysfunctioning, pleasure "buzz" etc. At the same time, the gene like ANNKI has the effects on Smoking dependence, parental rule-setting, Schizophrenia, cognition deficit, alcohol and opiate dependence, pleasurable "buzz".
The gene 5HT2A has got associations with Eating disorders, obesity, Insulin resistance, love styles (romantic), suicide, ADHD, Panic disorders, impulsive aggression, cognitive impulsivity, anger, sweet tooth, antidepressant treatment outcomes, fibromyalgia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality, smoking behavior, cocaine dependence, BMI.
Genes like OPRK1 (kappa -opioid receptor) has associations with the Alcohol and heroin dependence. Pain mechanisms and tolerance. OPRM1 (mu opioid Â Receptor) has associations with Pleasure "buzz", smoking addiction, heroin addiction, alcoholism, pain sensitivity, BMI, type 2 diabetes mellitus. COMT has associations with Psychiatric and affective disorders, alcoholism, substance use disorder, smoking, post-surgical pain, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease, ADHD. SLC6A3 genes are associated with Post-surgical pain, cocaine abuse, alcohol dependence, smoking behavior, juvenile delinquency, pathological aggression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, ADHD, impulsive aggression, cognitive impulsivity.
Heroin addiction, migraine, impulsive behavioral aggression, cognitive -impulsivity, ADHD, alcoholism is attached with the gene HTR3B. Pain mechanism, healing mechanisms, circulation, hypertension, cardiovascular are associated with the genes NOS3. Type 2 diabetes, Obesity, Insulin sensitivity, Body composition, eating disorders, BMI, physical exercise, common metabolic disorders, body mass, waist circumference, inflammatory response, immune system are affected with the genes PPARG. Plasma triglycerides, triglyceridemia, obesity ,,improves plasma glucose are asssociated iwth the genes CHREBP. Severe obesity, food intake, adiposity, body mass, energy intake, BMI, fat mass, pleasurable "buzz" are associated with the genes FTO.
Inflammations, mortality, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, BMI, Immune response are associated with the gene TNFalpha. Proinflamamtory, immunoregulation, apotosis, substance use disorder are associated with the gene PEMT. Substance dependence is also associated with the gene MANEA. BMI, Schizophrenia, stress, obesity risk, food intake, craving behavior, diabetes, insulin sensitivity, adiposity, body composition, linear growth, metabolic factors, hyperphagia, cocaine dependence, lipogenesis, modulation of sweet substances, anorexia, bulimia, cardiovascular effects, fertility, sexual maturation, brain development, depression, fatty acid metabolism, hunger have great effects of the gene LEPTIN-OB. Pain sensitivity, bipolar affective disorder, ADHD, alcoholism, Substance Use Disorder, violent behavior, juvenile delinquency, smoking, child abuse, suicide, criminal activity, posttraumatic stress disorder, anti-depressant treatment response, alcoholism, panic disorder, schizophrenia, pathological gambling are also affected by the gene MAO-A. Metabolic syndrome, adiposity, fat mass, energy intake, obesity, lipogenesis, type 2 diabetes, BMI has the same associations with the gene ADIPOQ. ADHD has the associations with the gene STS.
Obesity, BMI, overeating, metabolic syndrome, anthropometric measures, schizophrenia, temporal lobe epilepsy, immune system, type 2 diabetes, physical activity, BONE DENSITY (OSTEOPOROSIS) has associations with the gene VDR. Anxiety Disorders has associations with the gene DBI. Autism, alcoholism, stress response has association with the gene GABRA6. Autism, alcoholism, stress has strongest associations with the gene GABRB3. Cardiovascular disease, Homocysteine levels, obesity, fat mass, Schizophrenia has associations with the gene MTHFR. Plasma triglycerides, glucose craving behavior, obesity has associations with the gene MLXIPL (CARBOHYDRATE BINDING ELEMENT). Angiogenesis factor, cognition, tissue healing, pain sensitivity, oxidative stress has associations with the gene VEGF. Financial risk taking, nicotine withdrawal, ADHD, novelty seeking, Alcoholism, aggression, impulsivity, delinquency, memory deficits, anger, temperament, schizophrenia, sexual intercourse, drug abuse, extraversion, obesity, stress, emotional reactivity, infant attachment, oppositional defiant disorder, fibromyalgia, hyperphagia, alcohol craving, pathological gambling, panic disorder, developmental personality, Tourette Syndrome, Parkinson's has association with the gene DRD4. Antidepressant treatment outcome, Parkinson's, ADHD, cocaine and methamphetamine dependence, spirituality "GOD Gene" has association with the gene VMAT2. CLOCK gene is associated with Circadian system, mood, bipolar, endocrine and metabolic rhythms, stress, reproduction, morphine dependence. Sleep anxiety, alcoholism is associated with the gene MELETONIN. OREXIN gene has associations with Hyperphagis and energy regulation.
So from the above analysis what we could see is that several genes have had associations with the psychological orders and disorders of human body and mind. Genes like DRD2 and DRD4, ANNKI, COMT, SLC6A3, TNFalpha, PEMT, LEPTIN-OB, MAO-A, ADIPOQ, STS, VDR, DBI, GABRA6, GABRA3, MTHFR, VEGF, VMAT2, CLOCK, MELETONIN, OREXIN has associations with the Psychological disorders like Sleep anxiety, mood, bipolar, endocrine and metabolic rhythms, stress, reproduction, morphine dependence, cocaine and methamphetamine dependence, spirituality "GOD Gene", Financial risk taking, nicotine withdrawal, ADHD, novelty seeking, Alcoholism, aggression, impulsivity, delinquency, memory deficits, anger, temperament, schizophrenia, sexual intercourse, drug abuse, extraversion, obesity, stress, emotional reactivity, infant attachment, oppositional defiant disorder, fibromyalgia, hyperphagia, alcohol craving, pathological gambling, panic disorder, developmental personality, Tourette Syndrome, Angiogenesis factor, cognition, pain sensitivity, oxidative stress, obesity, obesity, Schizophrenia, alcoholism, stress response, Anxiety disorders, bipolar affective disorder, ADHD, alcoholism, Substance Use Disorder, violent behavior, juvenile delinquency, smoking, child abuse, suicide, criminal activity, posttraumatic stress disorder, anti-depressant treatment response, alcoholism, panic disorder.
But the most interesting thing is that not all the genes have the same disorders, rather each of the different genes has different syndroms which affects happiness of human being. But most interesting things is that more genes has associations with the same disorders like Schizophrenia of human being which seriously affects happiness. As well as more genes has the same affects like panic disorders which also affected happiness.
In one hand, this is the genes associations with Psychology and happiness and on the other hands, there are more factors involved in the Psychology and happiness.
James Montier29, a "global equity strategist", has concluded with the almost same view of happiness where genes have the greatest associations with human happiness.
About 50% of individual happiness comes from aÂ genetic set point.Â That is, we're each predisposed to a certain level of happiness. Some of us are just naturally more inclined to be cheery than others.
About 10% of our happiness is due to ourÂ circumstances.Â Our age, race, gender, personal history, and, yes, wealth, only make up about one-tenth of our happiness.
The remainingÂ 40% of an individual's happiness seems to be derived fromÂ intentional activity, from "discrete actions or practices that people can choose to do".
Economist Richard A. Easterlin30 at the UniversityÂ was among the first to notice the paradoxical disconnection between a nation's economic growth and the growth of its happiness. The "Easterlin Paradox" was once thought to be limited to rich, Western countries -- but researcher Hilke Brockmann31 and his colleagues at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany, recently showed that even as China has experienced extraordinary growth between 1990 and 2000, the percentage of Chinese who "described themselves as very happy plummeted from 28 percent in 1990 to 12 percent in 2000."
Easterlin added-"People are wedded to the idea that more money will bring them more happiness. When they think of the effects of more money, they are failing to factor in the fact that when they get more money they are going to want even more money. When they get more money, they are going to want a bigger house. They never have enough money, but what they do is sacrifice their family life and health to get more money."
The irony is that health and the quality of personal relationships are among the most potent predictors of whether people report they are happy -- and they are often the two things people sacrifice in their pursuit of greater wealth. Nations, Easterlin argues, make the same mistake as people. So the very causes behind happiness of human being are very much positive psychology as agreed by Easterlin and others researchers.
In response to both theological and psychological enquiry, Lewis et.al (2000)32 in a research paper showed that religion and happiness still has no association. But a growing number of studies have examined the relationship between religion and happiness employing a variety of samples and measures (see Robbins & Francis, 1996).33 TheÂ Handbook of Religion and HealthÂ describes a survey by Feigelman (1992)34 who examined happiness in Americans who have given up religion, in which it was found that there was little relationship between religious disaffiliation and unhappiness. CharltonÂ (2008)35 believes that it is possible that genospirituality could explain why some people are unable to have the kind of spiritual or religious experiences they want (or perhaps even need) in order to lead the kind of life to which they aspire.
Further, Popular spiritual leader Robert Schuller36 writes aboutÂ The Be Happy Attitudes: Eight Positive Attitudes that Can Transform Your Life. Along with charismatic and Pentecostal tendencies in contemporary western religion, such books and movements assume that religion intends for happiness. Even Reformation Protestants focused on justification by grace through faith. They believed that through this grace we could share what God offers, a positive loving action.
Highly religious people declare themselves very happy at twice the rate of those with the lowest spiritual commitment, according to aÂ GallupÂ survey referred to by Myers and Diener37. A study ofÂ 166,600people in fourteen countries demonstrates that happiness and satisfaction with life increase with frequency of attendance at worship services.
There are several researches which showed there is always a strong correlation between religiosity and happiness. The Table -1 shows us that genes like DRD4, DRD2 and VMAT 2 which is known as ""God Genes" has strong correlation with spirituality. Even Post et.al (2007) showed us another table where he and his associates have a research on ill peoples and the role of spirituality. They have got a strong correlation between the two.
Figure-4: Aspects of Spirituality Concerning Illness
derived from the
Dimensions of themes
derived from interviews
(Jochemsen et al.
2002, Fitchett, 1993)
Trust in/ angry at God; illness enriches faith; longing
for faith; belief in miracles
Strength from nature, self, strength from faith: yes/no
Religious/non-religious questions; meaning of
illness; why?, spiritual doubt
Vulnerability; immortality; experience of loss
Life purpose and life
Resignation; coming to terms with the illness, being
alone at the end of the day;
Real coping starts at home; patient more
contemplative in follow-up treatment
How long do I have? what remains? what is
important? quality of life?
Looking back on life; hope, strength and the will to
fight from previous experience
Final wish; good-bye; closure of life; questions
about death; death wish
Fear of death, of the unknown, of God
Experience and emotions
For family/relations at dying; fatal consequences of
Angry with illness; angry with God
Realizing consequences of illness; powerless
Visions and images
Virgin Mary; angels; near-death experience;
relatives; positive, peace
Confrontation with violated body; need for physical
Long (mourning) process; coming to terms with
illness; submission; self acceptance; moment and
place in time
Courage, hope, and
Able/not able to let go of life; finding a new
Seeing new possibilities; illness as a friend; taking
good care of self
Patient determines how to express him/herself;
Needs of patient; patient comforts/encourages
Fighting to live
Healthy and unhealthy; humour
Fixed ritual or on occasion; able to handle illness;
strength/wisdom; with existential questions/spiritual
low; support in dying process, yoga
Bible; Koran; religious hymns
Brings peace, meditation, prayer; away from
Rituals and symbols
E.g. serving, anointing, baptism; candles, rosary,
Fear of loneliness; losing social contacts
Concern for children; how will my family cope after
For real understanding; support fellow patients
Work Experience and
emotions of family/
To work or not to work; finding new way to live
Sorrow; worry; fear; panic; accepting: yes/no;
faith problems; conflicts due to different level of
experience than patient
Image of God
Positive: strength, support, bottom line; negative:
fear, took everything away
Treatment: yes/no; (fear) of euthanasia; resuscitation policy
Source: Post and others (2007)
The study shows the relevance of spiritual aspects during illness, indicating that there is a relationship between spirituality and health. Spiritual aspects can be of vital importance to patients when they are dealing with their illness, their relationships, when making decisions, facing the prospect of death, etc. In addition, spirituality may have an obstructive effect on the normal functioning of a person. This topic does not address the question whether or not spirituality is a relevant area of attention in care, but how and to what degree it plays a role in individual patients.
This study is also supported by the previous research on happiness and spirituality too. Even from the table-1 we have seen the same scenario. Comings and associates have found gene polymorphic associations with spirituality (ComingsÂ et al.Â 2000)39 where both among boys and girls, significant interactive effects were found between 5-HTTLPR and AP-2beta genotypes, with regard to Self-Transcendence and Spiritual acceptance.
Comings and associates (2000)40 were the first group to identify the role of a specific gene in spirituality. The gene was the dopamine D4Â receptor gene (DRD4)Â gene, which was found to play a role in novelty seeking. Finally asÂ ComingsÂ (2008)41 suggests, "Spirituality can be defined as a feeling of a connection with something greater than oneself including any form of social order. Accordingly, this would have selective value in the sense that optimism relates to the will to keep on living and procreating, despite the fact that death is inevitable. We find this very interesting especially in light of work on dopaminergic genes and dopamine function suggesting that the substance dopamine is now considered to be both theÂ "pleasure and anti-stress molecule"Â (Comings and Blum 2000)42.
A 2002 study conducted at the University of Illinois by Diener and Seligman found that the most salient characteristics shared by the 10% of students with the highest levels of happiness and the fewest signs of depression were their strong ties to friends and family and commitment to spending time with them. "Word needs to be spread," concludes Diener. "It is important to work on social skills, close interpersonal ties and social support in order to be happy." (Diener et al. 2006).43
On the other hand Veenhoven (2006)44 has showed that Empirical studies on happiness have found that: a) most people are happy in modern nations, b) average happiness in nations is rising, c) inequality in happiness is going down, d) happiness depends heavily on the kind of society one live in, but e) not very much on one's place in society.
Even empirical data on happiness and effects of sociology shows the same as observed by Veenhoven (2009)45.In his database of Average happiness in 148 nations in 2000-2009, he has shown the sociological indicators and parameters of Happiness which is systematically higher in nations that combine a good material standard of living with good governance, freedom and a climate of tolerance. Together, such societal characteristics explain about 75% of the differences in average happiness across nations. There are also societal characteristics that appeared to be unrelated to average happiness of citizens.
Based on the social and other factors, he has categorized the how much people enjoy their life as a whole and Costa Rica has been at the top in the ranking where as the wealthiest nations like Denmark at the second places and USA twentieth and Germany twenty eighth.
Recently four prominent psychologists - Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ken Sheldon, David Schkade and Martin Seligman has invented a formula of happiness which consists of three components like Biological set point, Conditions of life and voluntary activities. Dr. Lyubomirsky46 outlines in her bookÂ The How of Happiness:Â A New Approach to Getting the Life You WantÂ how she and her colleagues arrived at the formula and how it works. The formula is as follows:
Where H is the happiness and S as biological set point, C as conditions of life and V as voluntary activities. With this happiness formula she has agreed with the gene factors in happiness and she has explored the Sociological conditions and factors as one of the important point for happiness of human being. She and the other four psychologists claimed that situations and circumstances make up at least 10% of human happiness and voluntary activities consist of 40 % of our happiness.
Psychologist Dr Cliff Arnall47, The former NHS psychologist and Cardiff University lecturer has devised a formula to pinpoint the day we are all most likely to feel the cheeriest.
His complicated mathematic formula is:
H= O + (N x S) + Cpm /T + He.
Put simply, he gave values to each symbol and added being outdoors (O) to nature (N) multiplied by social interaction (S), added memories of childhood summers (Cpm) divided by the temperature (T), and added excitement about holidays (He).
Professor Arnall has got the same experiences like Martin Seligman and Sonja Lyubomirsky where sociological factors like social interactions ,summer memories and excitements about holidays has a great role about human happiness.
The problems of cultures are a prolific issue in happiness research. Even most of happiness research has used a few terms like "Satisfaction" in English which is different from French "Satisfait", or Bengali "Sukh", or Italian "Sodisfatto" or "Tilfreds" in Denish or "Zufrieden" in German. Even Research like Veenhoven's Database happiness has serious lack of conscience in wants of peoples of different countries. Because to a Bangladeshi, the indicators of Human development index matters nothing at all to be happy. Like having a telephone at home or television is not at all a matter of happiness or of standard living conditions. Even happiness in Bangladesh society matters nothing whenever you have had nothing to eat where as in the west its one of the serious paucity of research and no one could even think of it. Even there are religious cultures of several kinds where Islamic cultures play a serious role in Happiness in daily life of the Muslim societies. The very teaching of Islam in daily life happiness depends much on the pleasures of Allah. Whereas western philosophy of daily life has a serious flaws to be happy. The very individualistic philosophy has taught the westerners to have more consumption to be happy where as the Hindu religious culture or Buddhist religious cultural teachings have greatest impacts on the poorest sections of peoples of India, China as well as Muslim religious cultures within the Muslim countries. Even there are differences of cultures among each of the Muslim countries.
The next is the intentions of being happy. For a Bangladeshi, one can easily be happy with the little amounts of earnings and foods. After submitting himself to Allah, he would easily be "Sukhi" (I am not using the word Happy, because Bengali such and English happiness has differences in meaning) leaving everything to Allah and having satisfaction what Allah has given him for life. In the holy Quran, Allah has asked Muslims to have patients 82 times. So Muslims usually don't get impatient or unhappy with anything so easily if he or she has had fervent faith on Allah. The next point is the peoples of Bangladesh are not like the peoples of all other Muslim countries. Most of the Muslim countries in the Middle East are economically rich and their faith is strong to achieve more and more at every spheres of life. But the economically poorest peoples of Bangladesh know their own limits of satisfying themselves. So this differs the satisfaction levels of the peoples of Bangladesh.
Even the same argument is true in case of the cultures of all other countries. Inglehart (1997)48 has shown that Cultures, Values and Democracy have certain effects about happiness. The figure shown here from Inglehart has clearly depicted the scales from +1 to - 1 and on the axis from traditional society to secular rational society and from survival to well being. The Traditional/Secular-rational values dimension reflects the contrast between societies in which religion is very important and those in which it is not. A wide range of other orientations are closely linked with this dimension.
The second major dimension of cross-cultural variation is linked with the transition from industrial society to post-industrial societies-which brings a polarization between Survival and Self-expression values. Inglehart and Baker (2000) find evidence that orientations have shifted from Traditional toward Secular-rational values, in almost all industrial societies. But modernization, is not linear-when a society has completed industrialization and starts becoming a knowledge society, it moves in a new direction, from Survival values toward increasing emphasis on Self-expression values.
A central component of this emerging dimension involves the polarization between Materialist and Post materialist values, reflecting a cultural shift that is emerging among generations who have grown up taking survival for granted. This produces a culture of trust and tolerance, in which people place a relatively high value on individual freedom and self-expression, and have activist political orientations. These are precisely the attributes that the political culture literature defines as crucial to democracy.
From chart-1 we could see ex-communist eastern European societies fall into the category of secular rational society and in course of survival and well being they are at the negative positions. Even from the cart two we could see that these societies are less happy society. On the other hand, traditional societies with non secular values and traditions lie neutral on the graph or almost neutral. More specifically the western societies with secular values and traditions or catholic Europe with religious traditions lays on the ground there's much economic development and though they are on the top among the rich countries.
Mapping Authority and Survival or Well Being.
Source: R. Inglehart, Modernization and Post modernization (Princeton, 1997).49
The abovementioned table shows the value dimensions and scores of several nations. This value survey designs tends to measure all major areas of human concern, from religions to politics to economic and social life. It turns out that two dimensions dominate the picture: (1) Traditional vs. Secular-rational values and (2) Survival vs. Self-expression values. These two dimensions explain more than 70 percent of the cross-cultural variance on scores of more specific values. If we explain these trends of values and expressions of human concern we could see the differences of nations lays on religious traditions to modernity as well politics and economic aspects of life which gene could not explain. Though gene theorist explained almost 50% of happiness lays on the gene factors though these data and figures could not be explained by the gene theorists. On the other hands gene theorist like lykken and tellegen (1996) aimed at explaining the gene variations of nations to define the cultural or value differences of societies which affect happiness human beings.
Over the past decade, economists have increasingly focused on happiness research. The main focus has been on understanding the interconnection between economic outcomes and the resulting happiness of economic actors. The facts about income and happiness turn out to be much simpler than first realized:
1) Rich people are happier than poor people.
2) Richer countries are happier than poorer countries.
3) As countries get richer, they tend to get happier.
But almost thirty five years back, David Easterlin, a renowned economist has suggested that there is no link between a society's economic development and its average level of happiness. In several papers Richard Easterlin has examined the relationship between happiness and GDP both across countries and within individual countries through time. David Easterlin50 in his 1974 paper "Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some Empirical Evidence." found that within a given country people with higher incomes are more likely to report being happy. However, in international comparisons the average reported level of happiness does not vary much with national income per person, at least for countries with income sufficient to meet basic needs. Similarly, although income per person rose steadily in the United States between 1946 and 1970, average reported happiness showed no long-term trend and declined between 1960 and 1970.
Afterwards, in 2003 this concept of Easterlin was challenged by Ruut Veenhoven and Michael R.Hagerty in their paper "Wealth and Happiness Revisited, Growing wealth of nations does go with greater happiness".51In this paper they have shown data and analysis and concluded that there is no paradox and countries with growing income at both individual and international level got happier with increasing income.
In 2008, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers at their paper "Economic Growth and Subjective Well being: reassessing Easterlin Paradox"52 showed that increasing income has clear correlation with individual and national level happiness which contradicts Easterlin paradox. The study provides evidence that happiness is determined not only by relative income, but also by absolute income.
Courtesy: New York times, April 16, 200853
The New York Times on April 16th, 2008 has published the article-"May be does buy happiness after all" on the findings of Stevenson and Wolfers. Stevenson and Wolfers has clearly shown that peoples in the wealthier countries are more likely to be satisfied with their lives.
But after this article has been published, Easterlin in an exclusive interview with Romesh Vaitilingam on 10th April 200954 denied again what Veenhoven, Stevenson and Wolfers charged against his Paradox. He further added:
"With regard to what the evidence as a whole shows, I've done now studies with my colleagues at the University of Southern California of three groups of countries. The developed countries - and there we have about 17 countries, mostly European non-transition countries plus the United States, Australia, and Canada. For those 17 countries, we have time series that average, as I recall, about 20 years in length.
If you compare the rate of economic growth as the independent variable, let's say, with the rate of change in happiness, the expectation based on the cross-section would be the higher the rate of economic growth, the greater the improvement in happiness. When in fact you look at the data, the relationship is nil. There is no significant relation between the growth rate of GDP per capita and the rate of improvement in subjective wellbeing or happiness. That's for the developed countries.
The second group of countries is the developing countries, for which the data are much more fragmentary and require a lot more effort to assure comparability, because the question changes, the context to questions change, the survey coverage changes. So, we've spent a lot of time trying to adjust or correct. When we do that, we end up basically with only nine developing countries, but they are countries like China, Brazil, Chile, Nigeria, the Union of South Africa. So, we have a pretty substantial cross-section of countries. Turkey is another one.
There, I think, we've been able to get time series that average about 16 years in length. And when you look at that, the same relationship holds that we find for the developed countries, that the higher the rate of economic growth, there is no significant relationship to the rate of improvement in happiness.
The third group of countries is the transition countries of Eastern Europe. There the time series pattern that's associated with the transition is a V-shaped pattern. There is a very substantial collapse of GDP and recovery of GDP per capita. And that's accompanied by a similar movement in happiness, or subjective wellbeing. So, you get a V-shaped pattern of happiness in those countries, paralleling the V-shaped happiness of the movement of GDP per capita.
So, what you want to be sure to do is be able to fit a trend line that is not simply capturing the downward movement or the upward movement, but what the long-term trend is, which is whether happiness is greater at the present - 2005, which is the most recent date we have - compared with as early a transition data as we can get, which is typically around 1989 or '90.
There we have, I think, about 11 transition countries that range from East Germany to Russia, the Russian Federation. Again, there is no significant relationship between the long-term growth rate in the economy in those countries and the rate of improvement of happiness.
If we pool all of these three sets of countries, so we get about 35 countries or something like that, there is no relationship between the rate of economic growth and the improvement of happiness. So, that's what the evidence shows".
Helen Johns and Paul Ormerud in their Monograph "Happiness, Economics and Public Policy"55 have shown that Surveys on the levels of happiness fluctuate from year to year. But in general there is no trend, either up or down, in this data. So economic growth does not appear to improve the human lot. This is particularly the same idea of Easterlin paradox.
The second plight of idea of the paper is taxation should be much more progressive, and hours of work should be restricted for everyone, because money does not make people feel better off. But there have been many other profound social and political trends over the past 60 years and public spending has risen substantially, longevity has increased markedly, and the degree of inequality between the sexes has fallen. Just as with GNP per head, the data on happiness over time shows no correlations with these changes.
There is a body of research on happiness which is, from a scientific perspective, much more securely grounded. This is based upon the analysis, not of aggregate happiness data over time, but of so-called panel, or longitudinal, data, which tracks specific individuals over time. It shows that stable family life, being married, good health, having religious faith, feelings of living in a cohesive community where people can be trusted, and good governance contribute to happiness. Chronic pain, divorce and bereavement detract from happiness.
Democratic decision-making already takes into account many desirable outcomes other than economic growth. The dichotomy presented by many proponents of happiness research - that use of GNP implies a narrow, materialistic and self-centered view of welfare, while use of happiness indicators would imply a more holistic or ethical conception - is a false one.
Afterwards Jan Cornellis Ott56 argued against the arguments of Johns and Ormerud on the ground that policy making of happiness of a government relies much on analyzing the conditions that make people happy by comparing the conditions of people at different levels of happiness. But Johns and Ormerud has gotten much stress on analyzing the behaviour and the decisions of citizens to find out what they want, in other words: they can try to identify their ''revealed preferences'' which is common practice in economics.
Courtesy: Pew Research Center, October 23, 200857
Pew Research Center researchers Paul Taylor showed in his research that In USA Politics, the Republicans are happier than that of the Democrats. Despite the imploding stock market, the looming recession, the unpopular president and the dismal political polls, Republicans enjoy happiness more than that of the Democrats.
Afterwards , Jaime L. Napier and John T. Jost58 of New York University has conducted a research, in which they drew on system-justification theory and the notion that conservative ideology serves a palliative function to explain why conservatives are happier than liberals. Specifically, in three studies using nationally representative data from the United States and nine additional countries, they found that right-wing (vs. left-wing) orientation is indeed associated with greater subjective wellbeing and that the relation between political orientation and subjective well-being is mediated by the rationalization of inequality. In their third study, they found that increasing economic inequality (as measured by the Gini index) from 1974 to 2004 has exacerbated the happiness gap between liberals and conservatives, apparently because conservatives (more than liberals) possess an ideological buffer against the negative hedonic effects of economic inequality.
We started with "Nature Vs Nature". Actually the theme of this paper was to focus on the research of happiness from the direction of gene research to Economics, politics, sociology, public policy, religion to other areas. In happiness research the integration and coordination among researchers from every stratum from gene theorists to social scientists there must be nexus to integrate the results of happiness research. We have shown different research results from sociology to theology, gene research to politics and public policy. Psychologists, economists, biologists, sociologists, and political scientists have long investigated human happiness, and one claim found widespread acceptance until recently: Happiness remains constant. Research implies that neither rising prosperity nor severe misfortune permanently affect happiness. After a period of adjustment, individuals return to their baseline levels of well-being, leaving humanity on a ''hedonic treadmill'' (Brickman & Campbell, 1981; Diener, Suh, Lucas, & Smith, 1999; Kahneman, Krueger, Schkade, Schwartz, & Stone, 2004).59
An Electronic search60 on psychological abstracts since 1887 turned up 8072 articles on anger, 57800 on anxiety, 70,856 on depressions, while only 851 abstracts mentioned joy, 2958 happiness and 5701 life satisfaction. At the first section of Characteristics of happy peoples, we have discussed that psychologists sometimes believe that 50% happiness relies on genes and the rest of 50% depends on social factors and environments etc. Even there are instances where we could see research of Ruut Veenhoven in which he has shown that genes are not at all important to be happy. Even gene scientists could not explain the scenario. The most important nexus should be brought gene science and psychology into the social sciences strata to have definite results of happiness where we could see there is much integration and coordination and subjects of research of social science and science has got similar effects on human being. More specifically scholarships of social sciences like sociology, economics, politics, theology or public policy could be brought into the gene research and then fervent effects should be drawn by the scientists.
Though there's specificity of research on genetics on happiness, there would be more specific research on happiness integrating social sciences into the streams. More specifically there might be research conducted by genetic scientists, psychologists and social scientists integrating the effects of genes and psychological changes in a particular political situations or economic situations. This would be monitored by everyone and such authentic research would have yielded better happiness results.
More specifically we can analyze the "Nature Vs Nature" scenario where happiness is initially thought to be research subjects for the scientists and psychologists and afterwards during the 1970s the economists took it as a subject of research. But the matter is that Easterlin paradox in 1974 took the matter seriously for the economists and psychologists were confused with the results as well as economists and other strata of researchers. Even mostly gene researcher believed that this is the core research subject for the genetic researchers. But afterwards researchers like Sonja Lyubomirsky or Arnall has secured the positions of the sociologists and economists that this is also a subject of research for the social scientists too. Even Vaan Ruuthoven showed happines
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