He and his coauthor Nicholas Christakis, professor of sociology, evolutionary biology and medicine at Yale, have spent the last ten years searching for the biological explanation behind how we interact socially.
What have they learned?
They found that our DNA dictates the social activities we enjoy. Hence our friends, who enjoy the same things, do so because they are genetically like us. And the genes that most greatly impact our choices are the olfactory (sense of smell) genes and the genes controlling our immune system.
Another CNN article from 2011, The power of smell in picking sex partners, discussed two other studies that corroborate these findings. We all have a unique “odor print” like we have a unique fingerprint. That “odor print” is found in the part of the gene responsible for immune response known as the Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC). Women prefer the scent of men whose MHCs are different from their own.
This contributes to people finding marriage mates that they are compatible with, who like to do the same things, while at the same time are able to avoid inbreeding and thereby can produce stronger immune systems in their children. What a unique way to keep the human race as healthy as possible! How interesting to learn that we use our nose to pick those we’re closest to.
Humans are so complex in the way everything must function harmoniously. When something gets out of balance our emotions, thinking and actions can become uncontrolled and erratic. That’s why it’s so important to approach mental health issues with a holistic approach – treating the whole person and including nutrition, exercise and proper sleep in that treatment. If you live in the Portland, OR/Vancouver, WA area and would like to consult with me about how a holistic approach can help you achieve optimum mental health, please contact my office and schedule an appointment.