The framing effect refers the tendency to be risk-averse when options are presented positively but be risk-seeking when the same options are presented negatively during decision-making. This effect has been found to be modulated by the serotonin transporter gene (SLC6A4) and the catechol-o-methyltransferase gene (COMT) polymorphisms, which are on the dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways and which are associated with affective processing. The current study aimed to identify new genetic variations of genes on dopaminergic and serotonergic pathways that may contribute to individual differences in the susceptibility to framing. Using genome-wide association data and the gene-based principal components regression method, we examined genetic variations of 26 genes on the pathways in 1317 Chinese Han participants. Consistent with previous studies, we found that the genetic variations of the SLC6A4 gene and the COMT gene were associated with the framing effect. More importantly, we demonstrated that the genetic variations of the aromatic-L-amino-acid decarboxylase (DDC) gene, which is involved in the synthesis of both dopamine and serotonin, contributed to individual differences in the susceptibility to framing. Our findings shed light on the understanding of the genetic basis of affective decision-making.
Keywords: COMT; DDC; GWAS; SLC6A4; decision-making; framing effect.
© The Author (2017). Published by Oxford University Press.