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How cat poo parasite can help entrepreneurs
28 July 2018, 05:57 | Silvia Roy
How cat poo parasite can help entrepreneurs
Don't tell any Silicon Valley tech bros - but a mind-altering parasite found in cat poo seems to give humans an "edge" which could turn anyone into an entrepreneur. Toxoplasma can only reproduce in cats and so, once pooped out, they need to get back inside another one.
As for the 197 business professionals the researchers evaluated, being T. gondii positive made them 1.8 times more likely to have started their own business at some point.
More than 2 billion people, including 60 million in the United States, are estimated to be infected with T. gondii, though very few show any symptoms. That is because the toxoplasmosis parasite is created to increase risk-taking - albeit...
Learning that may forever change your relationship with your cat.
Study researcher Stefanie Johnson, from the University of Colorado, and colleagues said that the parasite could be reducing people's fear of failure.
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An worldwide group of scientists said that the parasites Toxoplasma gondii may be associated with an increase in the propensity to risky behavior and trying to build a career in business. The parasite may lead to increased risk-taking behavior, but there's no guarantee those businesses will be successful.
Though the researchers haven't proven this theory, they suggest the parasite could be affecting hormones in the brain such as testosterone, which makes the infected increase their risk-taking behavior.
The study, "Risky business: linking Toxoplasma gondii infection and entrepreneurship behaviours across individuals and countries", was published on Wednesday in the prestigious scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
In other words, is it possible that getting the infection from cat feces will make you more prone to opening up a bowling alley, while getting it from uncooked meat may make you more likely to open up a liquor store?
Among professionals at entrepreneurship seminars, T. gondii-positive individuals were 1.8 times more likely to have started their own businesses compared to other attendees. The fearless rats are then more likely to be killed and eaten by cats, who then carry the parasite - allowing the single-celled organism to better promote its own survival.
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Carried out by researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder, the new study looked at the prevalence of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii in1,495 undergraduate students.
"Countries with higher T gondii prevalence generally had a lower fraction of respondents who cited "fear of failure" as a factor preventing them from initiating a business-related enterprise".
"Being a professor is literally the most risk-averse job you can do", she said. They were also more likely to pursue entrepreneurial and other business activities. "T.gondii might just reduce that rational fear".
"So what if all the businesses started by toxoplasma-positive people fail?"
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