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The association between dopamine receptor (DRD4) gene polymorphisms and second language learning style and behavioral variability in undergraduate students in Turkey

Abstract

The dopamine D4 receptor gene (DRD4) encodes a receptor for dopamine, a chemical messenger used in the brain. One variant of the DRD4 gene, the 7R allele, is believed to be associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The aim of this study was to investigate the relationships between repeat polymorphisms in dopamine DRD4 and second language learning styles such as visual (seeing), tactile (touching), auditory (hearing), kinesthetic (moving) and group/individual learning styles, as well as the relationships among DRD4 gene polymorphisms and ADHD in undergraduate students. A total of 227 students between the ages of 17–21 years were evaluated using the wender utah rating scale and DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for ADHD. Additionally, Reid's perceptual learning style questionnaire for second language learning style was applied. In addition, these students were evaluated for social distress factors using the list of Threatening Events (TLE); having had no TLE, having had just one TLE or having had two or more TLEs within the previous 6 months before the interview. For DRD4 gene polymorphisms, DNA was extracted from whole blood using the standard phenol/chloroform method and genotyped using polymerase chain reaction. Second language learners with the DRD4.7+ repeats showed kinaesthetic and auditory learning styles, while students with DRD4.7-repeats showed visual, tactile and group learning, and also preferred the more visual learning styles \(\left( {\bar{X}:{ 3}. 70} \right)\). We also demonstrated that the DRD4 polymorphism significantly affected the risk effect conferred by an increasing level of exposure to TLE.

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Acknowledgments

This research was partially supported by Bulent Ecevit University Research Council. We thank all undergraduate students who participated in this research.

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Correspondence to Zehra Safi Oz.

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Maras Atabay, M., Safi Oz, Z. & Kurtman, E. The association between dopamine receptor (DRD4) gene polymorphisms and second language learning style and behavioral variability in undergraduate students in Turkey. Mol Biol Rep 41, 5215–5220 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11033-014-3389-x

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11033-014-3389-x

Keywords

  • Dopamine D4 receptor gene polymorphism
  • Learning style
  • Language learning style
  • Behavioral variability
  • Students in Turkey