Highlights: Mind-Controlling Parasite May Play Role On People’s Entrepreneurial Behavior

  • Toxoplasma gondii is an obligate intracellular parasite that causes the infectious disease toxoplasmosis. T. gondii has the ability to infect any warm-blooded animals.
  • Domestic cats are the only known definitive hosts that the parasite can undergo sexual reproduction.
  • The parasite infects an estimated 2 billion people around the world and has been linked to behavioral changes in humans and other vertebrates.
  • Business and economics discipline mostly depend on the belief of rationality when explaining complicated human behaviors. Growing evidence suggests that behavior may at the same time be affected by infectious microbes.
  • T. gondii is rarely associated with acute pathology, but latent infections have increasingly been linked to outcomes such as car accidents, neuroticism and suicides due to their potential influence on personality and risk-taking behaviors. It is still not clear if the effect extends to business-related behaviors among individuals and across populations.
  • The research combines data from college students and business professionals and shows how T. gondii infection affects individual and entrepreneurship activities.
  • The experiment shows that students who tested antibody positive for T. gondii exposure were more likely to pursue major in business. The students were also more likely to have an emphasis in management and entrepreneurship over other business-related emphases.
  • T. gondii-positive individuals who attended entrepreneurship events were more likely to have started their own business compared to other attendees.
  • Country-level databases were synthesized and combined showing that nations with higher T. gondii infection also had lower reports of people who are afraid to venture new business.
  • The findings give light to the hidden role of parasites as potential motivator in management and entrepreneurship.




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