Seen At 11: New Research Shows That Spending Habits May Be Genetic

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Do you like to shop and spend maybe a little too much? Do you have trouble saving?

It may not be your fault. New science suggests that genetics may cause your brain to be wired that way.

Angelica Boccella and her mother don’t always agree on her spending habits.

“A month ago, I had to bail her out, ahem,” said Angelica’s mother, Lisa.

Lisa admits she can understand her daughter’s love of shopping.

“When I was younger I remember just buying and buying and buying and it does run in the family. I have two sisters who shop a lot, her grandmother owns a pair of Louboutins,” said Lisa.

Expensive shoes aside, new research now backs up Boccella’s theory that “a love of shopping” is genetic. It may be no different from other family traits, like certain mannerisms, eye color, hair texture, even a laugh.

“When you look at the family and you look at the parents and the kids, there is a lot of resemblance,” said genetics expert Dr. Gil Altzmon.

Researchers from the University of Washington studied 15,000 sets of twins, since the early 1950s to come to the conclusion that you are either born to save or to spend. They found that the twins had the same spending patterns, even among those who had lost contact with one another.

Altzmon and other researches claim that this is due to a shared genetic background.

The study says that genetics is the single greatest reason why a person chooses to save or spend. The discovery has spawned a new field known as geno-economics. 

To Lisa and her mother the theory rings true.

“I think I was born this way,” said Angelica.

“I see it in my family and it’s true,” added her mother.

Psychologist April Benson specializes in compulsive spending. She told CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson that this new research could be key in helping the more than 13 million Americans dealing with this problem.

“If we believe that somebody is genetically determined to be a spender, then this might be the kind of person that we try and help enhance their financial self-control,” Benson said.

But, Dr. Altzmon says not so fast. Before you use this study as an excuse to hit the mall, remember, genetics is just one of many influences when it comes to spending.

“I think the environment in this case is much more prevalent,” he said.

And genetics aside, if you don’t have the money you can’t do what may come naturally.

The authors of the study say that by age 40 a person’s spending is almost fully governed by their genetic predispositions.

Are you a shopaholic? Does the rest of your family share your penchant for spending? Let us know in our comments section below…

Comments

One Comment

  1. Richard says:

    NEW YORK (RES 2) — Do you like to do research and spend maybe a little too much time on it? Do you have trouble thinking?

    It may not be your fault. New science suggests that genetics may cause your brain to be wired to add footnotes and do statistical studies.

    Expensive statistical studies aside, new research now backs up the theory that “a love of statistical studies” is genetic. It may be no different from other family traits, like a low sex drive and low intelligence.

    Researchers studied 15,000 sets of twins, since the early 1950s to come to the conclusion that you are either born to research or to do statistical studies. They found that the twins had the same research patterns, even among those who had lost contact with the same libraries.

    The study says that genetics is the single greatest reason why a person chooses to research or footnote. The discovery has spawned a new field known as geno-scholastics.

    Psychologist Judith Wiseman specializes in compulsive scholarship. She told RES 2′s Pristine Jackson that this new research could be key in helping the more than 13 million scholars dealing with this problem.

    “If we believe that somebody is genetically determined to be a scholar and do meaingless studies, then this might be the kind of person that we try and help enhance their scholastic self-control,” Wiseman said.

    But, Dr. Wiseman says not so fast. Before you use this study as an excuse to hit the libraries, remember, genetics is just one of many influences when it comes to research.

    “I think the environment in this case is much more prevalent,” she said. “Other scholars are a bad influence. Surrounded by all their studies what can other scholars do but similar types of research to either confirm or disconfirm a previous study?”

    And genetics aside, if you don’t have the time you can’t do what may come naturally, which is, waste a lot of money on statistical studies.

    The authors of the study say that by age 40 a person’s research habits are almost fully governed by their genetic predispositions.

    Are you a scholarholic? Does the rest of your family share your penchant for meaningless research? Let us know in our comments section below…

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