Dopamine system genes are associated with orienting bias among healthy individuals

Polina Zozulinsky, Lior Greenbaum, Noa Brande-Eilat, Yair Braun, Idan Shalev, Rachel Tomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Healthy individuals display subtle orienting bias, manifested as a tendency to direct greater attention toward one hemispace, and evidence suggests that this bias reflects an individual trait, which may be modulated by asymmetric dopamine signaling in striatal and frontal regions. The current study examined the hypothesis that functional genetic variants within dopaminergic genes (DAT1 3' VNTR, dopamine D2 receptor Taq1A (rs1800497) and COMT Val158Met (rs4680)) contribute to individual differences in orienting bias, as measured by the greyscales paradigm, in a sample of 197 young healthy Israeli Jewish participants. For the Taq1A variant, homozygous carriers of the A2 allele displayed significantly increased leftward orienting bias compared to the carriers of the A1 allele. Additionally, and as previously reported by others, we found that bias towards leftward orienting of attention was significantly greater among carriers of the 9-repeat allele of the DAT1 3' VNTR as compared to the individuals who were homozygous for the 10-repeat allele. No significant effect of the COMT Val158Met on orienting bias was found. Taken together, our findings support the potential influence of genetic variants on inter-individual differences in orienting bias, a phenotype relevant to both normal and impaired cognitive processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-54
Number of pages7
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2014


  • Asymmetry
  • DAT1
  • DRD2 Taq1A
  • Dopamine
  • Orienting
  • Spatial attention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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