Why some people are born `yes men`

Updated: Apr 21, 2011, 09:17 AM IST

London: Some people are born `yes men`, thanks to their genes which make them more likely to follow other people`s directives.

Researchers found that coming to a decision often involves listening to two parts of the brain - one that relies on taking advice and the other on experience.

The brain weighs up the often opposing views and then comes to a decision to take an action. But Brown University researchers in Rhode Island discovered that some people have genes that skew the decision towards one part of the brain than other.

They discovered the DARPP-32 genetic variation meant that individuals are more likely to do what he or she is told, even when it is contradicted by experience, the journal Neuroscience reports.

The gene means that like "a `yes man`, who is flexible to a fault, the brain is more likely to be influenced by what it is told than what its experience tells it", the report said, according to the Telegraph.

Michael Frank of Brown University recruited more than 70 people who gave saliva samples and then performed a computerised learning task.

The subjects were shown symbols on a screen and asked to pick the "correct" one, which they had to learn by being given advice that was not always correct.

Ultimately, the people with DARPP-32 were the "ones who stuck with wrong advice the longest, and in a later test they were more likely to choose symbols that they were advised were correct over those that in reality had higher likelihood of being correct".

Frank said that being a "yes man" might actually be advantageous as taking advice is easier and less dangerous than always having to experience things.