The Fault in Our Stars: Molecular Genetics and Information Technology Use

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Publication History

Received: August 22, 2020
Revised: June 21, 2021; November 26, 2021
Accepted: December 12, 2021
Published Online as Articles in Advance: May 16, 2023
Published Online in Issue: June 1, 2023

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There is a growing interest in understanding the role of genetics in explaining heterogeneity in behaviors, including those related to information systems (IS). The majority of the recent genetics research focuses on searching the entire genome in genome-wide association studies (GWASs) to link DNA to human traits. The results of GWASs can be used on datasets to compute a measure of genetic propensity known as a polygenic score, or PGS. PGSs are widely viewed as the future of genetics research. We conducted an exploratory study, in the context of information technology (IT) use, to examine if the PGS approach can be used to better understand the role of genetics in IS research. Consistent with our hypotheses, genetic endowments associated with Educational Attainment and General Cognition positively predict technology use, and genetic endowments associated with Neuroticism, Depressive Symptoms, Myocardial Infarction, and Coronary Artery Disease negatively predict technology use more than half a century later (genetic endowments are established at conception and our sample consists of individuals aged 50 to 80). Many of the characteristics known to be associated with heterogeneity in IT use (e.g., trust, education) appear to be mediators linking PGSs to IT use. Nonetheless, a number of PGSs maintain meaningful direct effects.
Additional Details
Author Susan A. Brown and Richard W. Sias
Year 2023
Volume 47
Issue 2
Keywords DNA, genetics, individual differences, phenotypes, technology use, NeuroIS, older adults
Page Numbers 483-510
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