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Happiness Roundup

September 14, 2012

Researchers identify a gene that may influence women’s contentment with their lives.



A happiness gene for women. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Women with one version of a gene called MAOA tend to be happier than those with the other version. The gene affects levels of the brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine—both of which are known to improve mood. Men showed no difference, regardless of which version of the gene they had. The study may help explain why women in general report greater overall life happiness than men do.

In other news, a new technique helps people identify criminals more accurately. Currently, people look at photos of suspects for as long as they want, and say whether or not that’s the culprit. In the new technique, people get just a few seconds to look at each photo, and immediately rate their confidence that it’s the culprit on a scale of one to 11. The new technique boosted accuracy 20 to 30 percent. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.