Research has demonstrated that certain genotypes are expressed phenotypically in different forms depending on the social environment. To examine sensitivity to cultural norms regarding emotion regulation, we explored the expression of the oxytocin receptor polymorphism (OXTR) rs53576, a gene previously related to socioemotional sensitivity, in conjunction with cultural norms. Emotional suppression is normative in East Asian cultures but not in American culture. Consequently, we predicted an interaction of Culture and OXTR in emotional suppression. Korean and American participants completed assessments of emotion regulation and were genotyped for OXTR. We found the predicted interaction: Among Americans, those with the GG genotype reported using emotional suppression less than those with the AA genotype, whereas Koreans showed the opposite pattern. These findings suggest that OXTR rs53576 is sensitive to input from cultural norms regarding emotion regulation. These findings also indicate that culture is a moderator that shapes behavioral outcomes associated with OXTR genotypes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Clinical Psychology