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To cheat or not to cheat: Tryptophan hydroxylase 2 SNP variants contribute to dishonest behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • Q. Shen
  • M. Teo
  • E. Winter
  • E. Hart
  • S.H. Chew
  • R.P. Ebstein
Article number82
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/05/2016
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience
Issue numberMAY
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


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. © 2016 Shen, Teo, Winter, Hart, Chew and Ebstein.