Disciplines such as business and economics often rely on the assumption of rationality when explaining complex human behaviours. However, growing evidence suggests that behaviour may concurrently be influenced by infectious microorganisms. The protozoan Toxoplasma gondii infects an estimated 2 billion people worldwide and has been linked to behavioural alterations in humans and other vertebrates. Here we integrate primary data from college students and business professionals with national-level information on cultural attitudes towards business to test the hypothesis that T. gondii infection influences individual- as well as societal-scale entrepreneurship activities. Using a saliva-based assay, we found that students (n = 1495) who tested IgG positive for T. gondii exposure were 1.4× more likely to major in business and 1.7× more likely to have an emphasis in ‘management and entrepreneurship' over other business-related emphases. Among professionals attending entrepreneurship events, T. gondii-positive individuals were 1.8× more likely to have started their own business compared with other attendees (n = 197). Finally, after synthesizing and combining country-level databases on T. gondii infection from the past 25 years with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor of entrepreneurial activity, we found that infection prevalence was a consistent, positive predictor of entrepreneurial activity and intentions at the national scale, regardless of whether previously identified economic covariates were included. Nations with higher infection also had a lower fraction of respondents citing ‘fear of failure' in inhibiting new business ventures. While correlational, these results highlight the linkage between parasitic infection and complex human behaviours, including those relevant to business, entrepreneurship and economic productivity.
Researchers successfully revived ancient microbes, some more than 100 million years old, that were buried in the seafloor. During an expedition to the South Pacific Gyre, the scientists from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and their colleagues drilled into the ocean sediment almost 6,000 meters below the surface. “Our main question […]
My family stopped wiping down all our groceries to “disinfect” them a couple months ago, mostly because of hygiene exhaustion. Then in May, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention clarified its own Web page about how COVID-19 spreads to state that “based on data from lab studies on COVID-19 and what we know about […]
If you’re a photographer, videographer, or graphic designer, you’ve got a lot of competition charging up behind you. Because while you’ve been trained as a content creator, the task of snapping brilliant images, capturing well-composed video, and posting effective social media is now part of literally everyone’s skill set. For years, Adobe and their ubiquitous […]
After years of hearing a steady drumbeat about the necessity of surfing the web under the protection of a VPN, even the most technophobic among us are starting to come around. But even knowing the dangers one can face from cybercrooks phishing for information from unsuspecting victims online, those last holdouts still have some fears. […]
You may not realize it, but some of the biggest films in movie history have been edited using the same tools some of you use to cut your video of vacationing at Disney World. Giant movies from Oscar favorites The Social Network and Gone Girl to blockbusters like Avatar, Deadpool, and last year’s Terminator: Dark […]