Researchers have found that the same set of genes that make us prone to depression could also lead us to positivity in life.
The findings showed that cognitive biases occur when people consistently interpret situations though particular mental ‘filters.’
“We suggest that while no gene ’causes’ mental ill health, some genes can make people more sensitive to the effects of their environment — for better and for worse,” said Elaine Fox, Professor at the Oxford University in the UK.
Individuals who have a cognitive bias that emphasises negative aspects or thoughts, are more at risk of mental health disorders, researchers said.
What happens to people’s mental health is based on their environment, not because of differences in genes.
If an individual is in a negative environment, he/she is likely to develop the negative cognitive biases that lead to mental disorders.
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On the other hand, individuals with the same set of genes but in a supportive environment are likely to develop positive cognitive biases that increase mental resilience, said the paper published in the journal ‘Molecular Psychiatry’.
For the study, the team reviewed a number of studies and emphasised the need to combine studies in mental health genetics with those that look at cognitive biases.
“There is a lot of research about these biases, and a lot of research about genes that may make people susceptible to mental ill health. However, we suggest that it could make more sense to bring together these two areas of research,” added Chris Beevers, Professor at University of Texas in Austin, in the US.