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Neuropsychologia. 2014 Sep;62:48-54. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2014.07.005. Epub 2014 Jul 17.

Dopamine system genes are associated with orienting bias among healthy individuals.

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Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, 199 Abba Khoushy Ave., Mount Carmel Haifa 3498838, Israel.
Department of Neurology, Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Hashomer, Israel; The Josheph Sagol Neuroscience center (JSNC), Chaim Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Israel.
Department of Biobehavioral Health, Pennsylvania State University, United States.
Department of Psychology, University of Haifa, 199 Abba Khoushy Ave., Mount Carmel Haifa 3498838, Israel. Electronic address:


Healthy individuals display subtle orienting bias, manifested as a tendency to direct greater attention toward one hemispace, and evidence suggests that this bias reflects an individual trait, which may be modulated by asymmetric dopamine signaling in striatal and frontal regions. The current study examined the hypothesis that functional genetic variants within dopaminergic genes (DAT1 3' VNTR, dopamine D2 receptor Taq1A (rs1800497) and COMT Val158Met (rs4680)) contribute to individual differences in orienting bias, as measured by the greyscales paradigm, in a sample of 197 young healthy Israeli Jewish participants. For the Taq1A variant, homozygous carriers of the A2 allele displayed significantly increased leftward orienting bias compared to the carriers of the A1 allele. Additionally, and as previously reported by others, we found that bias towards leftward orienting of attention was significantly greater among carriers of the 9-repeat allele of the DAT1 3' VNTR as compared to the individuals who were homozygous for the 10-repeat allele. No significant effect of the COMT Val158Met on orienting bias was found. Taken together, our findings support the potential influence of genetic variants on inter-individual differences in orienting bias, a phenotype relevant to both normal and impaired cognitive processes.


Asymmetry; DAT1; DRD2 Taq1A; Dopamine; Orienting; Spatial attention

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