Psychologists at the University of Georgia have found that how talkative you are may be encoded in your genes. But it's not the genes themselves; rather, it's how a process called methylation can reduce the effect of a certain gene. Methylation is a central process of epigenetics, which deals with the way your genes can turn on and off -- and increase and decrease their effects -- over your entire life. This particular study looked at the gene responsible for producing oxytocin, which is sometimes known as the bonding hormone for its importance in forming relationships. When methylation tamps down on this oxytocin gene, it can cause a person to have more social anxiety and a harder time recognizing emotions in others. This means the reverse may also be true: less methylation can mean less inhibition of this gene, making people chattier and more ready to form close relationships.
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Key Facts In This Video
The epigenome doesn't change your DNA, but it decides how much or whether different genes are expressed in different cells in your body. 02:02
If your genome (DNA) is the hardware of the computer, the epigenome is the software. 03:24
Some of your epigenetic information is passed from generation to generation. 04:56