Last Updated on May 4, 2022 by Pets Feed
A parasite found in cat poop has been linked to a higher likelihood of entrepreneurial behavior in infected people.
Infection with Toxoplasma, a cat parasite, makes people more adventurous and less inclined to take risks. This conclusion was drawn by scientists who published an article in the journal Royal Society Proceedings B.
“Many people often want to become businessmen or realize a bold idea, but do not take such steps because of the fear of failure. It seems to me that Toxoplasma infection alleviates this fear, and therefore its carriers become more enterprising than other people, “- says Stefanie Johnson (Stefanie Johnson) from the University of Colorado at Boulder (USA).
Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular parasite commonly present in the intestines of domestic cats. To date, according to the US CDC, more than 60 million people in the United States are infected with Toxoplasma. The widespread prevalence of this pathogen in pets and their owners has led scientists to focus on it in recent years.
It turned out that Toxoplasma is able to modify the behavior of the host, causing irreversible changes in the brain. They make mice and chimpanzees “fearless” at the sight and smell of cats and leopards, and people – prone to suicide and irrational acts, as well as inexplicable fits of rage. Also, the entry of Toxoplasma into the body of a pregnant woman can lead to serious abnormalities in the development of the fetus and lead to miscarriage.
Johnson and his colleagues discovered another interesting example of the effect of Toxoplasma on human behavior, which is difficult to unequivocally call harmful, by studying how the absence or presence of these parasites in the body affects the behavior of biology students and students of various business courses.
To do this, the scientists took saliva samples from about a thousand and a half volunteers and tried to find anti-toxoplasma antibodies in them. Then they compared this data with how and where the students studied, and where they then worked.
Unexpectedly, it turned out that the majority of carriers of toxoplasma preferred to study as entrepreneurs and managers, and in the most “risky” specialties, while healthy people more often became accountants, analysts and biologists.
On average, infected students were about 1.4 times more likely to enroll in business faculties and business departments and 1.7 times more likely to choose majors directly related to risk and entrepreneurial activity, rather than to serve them.
Additionally, similar tests among attendees at various business development conferences have shown that carriers of Toxoplasma are about twice as likely to start their own business or grow their business as healthy people.
Interestingly, similar trends also manifested themselves at the level of entire states – the more common Toxoplasma was in a particular country, the more often its people tried to become entrepreneurs. All of this, Johnson said, should compel scientists and government officials to take this infection, which affects around a quarter of the world’s population, more seriously.