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Do you have the chocolate gene? Study hints consumer preferences may be inherited

From physical appearance to predisposition to certain diseases, genetics is a potent shaper of the human experience. But does your DNA also influence what types of movies, music and foods you prefer?

Surprisingly, the answer might be yes. Research slated to be published in Journal of Consumer Research suggests that some consumer choices may be hard-wired.

In the study, Stanford marketing professor Itamar Simonson, PhD, and University of Florida researcher Aner Sela, PhD, studied twins' consumer preferences to determine whether or not certain behaviors or traits have a genetic basis. According to the journal release (.pdf):

The authors discovered that people seem to inherit the following tendencies: to choose a compromise option and avoid extremes; select sure gains over gambles; prefer an easy but non-rewarding task over an enjoyable challenging one; look for the best option available; and prefer utilitarian, clearly needed options (like batteries) over more indulgent ones (gourmet chocolate). They also found that likings for specific products seemed to be genetically related: chocolate, mustard, hybrid cars, science fiction movies, and jazz.

The researchers also found that some tendencies did not seem to be heritable - for example, a preference for a smaller versus larger product variety or likings for ketchup and tattoos.

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