Although, lying (bear false witness) is explicitly prohibited in the Decalogue and a focus of interest in philosophy and theology, more recently the behavioral and neural mechanisms of deception are gaining increasing attention from diverse fields especially economics, psychology, and neuroscience. Despite the considerable role of heredity in explaining individual differences in deceptive behavior, few studies have investigated which specific genes contribute to the heterogeneity of lying behavior across individuals. Also, little is known concerning which specific neurotransmitter pathways underlie deception. Toward addressing these two key questions, we implemented a neurogenetic strategy and modeled deception by an incentivized die-under-cup task in a laboratory setting. The results of this exploratory study provide provisional evidence that SNP variants across the tryptophan hydroxylase 2 (TPH2) gene, that encodes the rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of brain serotonin, contribute to individual differences in deceptive behavior.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The work was supported by Ministry of Education of Singapore (http://www.moe.gov.sg/; Tier2: Biological Economics and Decision Making); AXA research foundation (http://www.axa-research.org/; Biology of Decision Making under Risk); the Templeton foundation (http://www.templeton.org/; Genes, God and Generosity), Zhejiang Provincial Natural Science Foundation of China (LQ15G010002) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China.
© 2016 Shen, Teo, Winter, Hart, Chew and Ebstein.
- Single-nucleotide polymorphism