Gene-culture interaction: Oxytocin receptor polymorphism (oxtr) and emotion regulation

Heejung S. Kim, David K. Sherman, Taraneh Mojaverian, Joni Y. Sasaki, Jinyoung Park, Eunkook M. Suh, Shelley E. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Research has demonstrated that certain genotypes are expressed phenotypically in different forms depending on the social environment. To examine sensitivity to cultural norms regarding emotion regulation, we explored the expression of the oxytocin receptor polymorphism (OXTR) rs53576, a gene previously related to socioemotional sensitivity, in conjunction with cultural norms. Emotional suppression is normative in East Asian cultures but not in American culture. Consequently, we predicted an interaction of Culture and OXTR in emotional suppression. Korean and American participants completed assessments of emotion regulation and were genotyped for OXTR. We found the predicted interaction: Among Americans, those with the GG genotype reported using emotional suppression less than those with the AA genotype, whereas Koreans showed the opposite pattern. These findings suggest that OXTR rs53576 is sensitive to input from cultural norms regarding emotion regulation. These findings also indicate that culture is a moderator that shapes behavioral outcomes associated with OXTR genotypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-672
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: supported by National Science Foundation Human Social Dynamic Grants BCS-0729532.


  • OXTR
  • culture
  • emotion regulation
  • genetics


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