Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Behavioral Effects of Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis appears to manipulate personality by the same adaptations that normally help the parasite complete its life cycle. A study on rats with a latent infection, the rat's behavior alters so that it becomes more active, less cautious and more likely to be eaten by a cat, where the parasite can complete its life cycle. Tests on humans suggest that toxoplasmosis is associated with different, often opposite, behavioral changes in men and women, but both genders exhibit guild proneness. The study also found that countries with high toxoplasmosis prevalence had a higher neuroticism score and western countries with high prevalence also scored higher in the neurotic dimension of male sex roles and uncertainty avoidance.

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