Paranormal experience and the COMT dopaminergic gene: A preliminary attempt to associate phenotype with genotype using an underlying brain theory

Amir Raza,d,*, Terence Hinesb, John Fossellac and Daniella Castrob

a b s t r a c t

Paranormal belief and suggestibility seem related. Given our recent findings outlining a putative association between suggestibility and a specific dopaminergic genetic polymorphism, we hypothesized that similar exploratory genetic data may offer supplementary insights into a similar correlation with paranormal belief. With more affordable costs and better technology in the aftermath of the human genome project, genotyping is increasingly ubiquitous. Compelling brain theories guide specific research hypotheses as scientists begin to unravel tentative relationships between phenotype and genotype. In line with a dopaminergic brain theory, we tried to correlate a specific phenotype concerning paranormal belief with a dopaminergic gene (COMT) known for its involvement in prefrontal executive cognition and for a polymorphism that is positively correlated with
suggestibility. Although our preliminary findings are inconclusive, the research approach we outline should pave the road to a more scientific account of elucidating paranormal belief.

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