The oxytocin receptor gene comes in several variants

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“The oxytocin receptor gene comes in several variants, and there are indications that some of these variants make you respond in less reactive ways to oxytocin in your blood,” explains Luc Goosens, a developmental psychologist at the University of Leuven in Belgium. If you have the most common genotype of the oxytocin receptor gene, GG, you may be more attuned to the emotions of others but also more sensitive to rejection and more likely to end up feeling lonely.

In a 2015 study, undergraduates played a computer game in which they got sidelined by others: Only those who had the GG genotype ended up with elevated stress hormone, cortisol and higher blood pressure. Those with the AA genotype (about 15 percent of us have it) were less stirred by losing the game.