Genetic correlates of creativity in military personnel under extreme conditions of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation: a pilot study

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BACKGROUND: The ability of a person in the process of active activity to adapt to changing environmental conditions is largely related to his creative potential. Creativity, like other physical and mental personality traits, has its own genetic base, which has not been sufficiently studied to date. Certain genes involved in this process are regularly described. The search for an association with new candidate genes for the creative potential of practically healthy, young respondents selected for work in the extreme conditions of the North is extremely important in the selection of people for work and service in difficult conditions.

AIM: Search for the correlation of candidate gene polymorphism and the psychological state of the examined.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The psychological block of the pilot study included determining the degree of creativity, as well as the degree of tension of key psychological defense mechanisms. All the techniques used within its framework are part of the standard psychodiagnostic tools that have been tested in domestic conditions. Genotyping was performed by real-time PCR, determining the corresponding alleles of candidate genes, and then the data were compared by the method of analysis of variance.

RESULTS: As candidate genes, we selected the angiotensin-converting enzyme gene, the serotonin 2A receptor gene, the neurotrophic factor BDNF, and alpha-actinin-3. According to the literature, all these genes are associated with the ability to adapt and / or psychotic states, which suggests their possible connection with creativity. The most interesting results are associated with the polymorphism of the BDNF gene: respondents with the BDNF Val/Val genotype are characterized by the maximum level of creativity and the minimum level of intensity of basic psychological defenses and coping strategies by types of distancing, as well as seeking social support. On the contrary, their maximum level is associated with the Met/Met genotype. Thus, it has been reliably shown that optimal adaptation to extreme external conditions is most likely to be ensured genetically by the presence of the Val / Val genotype, and psychologically by enhanced use of creative ability. The respondents with the ACTN3 RX genotype (with increased cold resistance) are characterized by a minimum level of creativity, and those with the RR genotype – its maximum level. It is also shown that respondents with the ACE DD genotype are characterized by a minimum level of creativity. There were no associations with creativity with the serotonin 2A receptor gene polymorphism.

CONCLUSIONS: The totality of the results obtained as a result of this pilot study allows us to consider a systematic study of creative ability and its molecular biological correlates to be correct and constructive for the development of a fundamental problem of the interaction of molecular biological and psychological mechanisms that provide active adaptation, as well as very expedient for solving the complex. scientific and applied tasks for the selection and correction of the state of persons directed to work in special and / or extreme conditions.

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Irina M. Spivak

S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy; Saint Petersburg State University

Author for correspondence.
ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1351-8696
SPIN-code: 6740-5392

Cand. Sci. (Biol.), assistant professor

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044; Saint Petersburg

Andrei N. Zhekalov

S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4821-7340

Dr. Sci. (Med.)

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044

Andrei I. Glushakov

S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy

SPIN-code: 6860-8990

Cand. Sci. (Med.)

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044

Alexey V. Lemeshchenko

S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy


Cand. Sci. (Med.)

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044

Vladislav A. Nyrov

Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University

ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4035-6920

Postgraduate student

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044

Aleksandra E. Trandina

S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy


medical doctor

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044

Pavel A. Shapovalov

S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy

ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0639-017X


Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044

Andrei G. Zakharchuk

S.M. Kirov Military Medical Academy


Cand. Sci. (Med.), Lecturer

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044

Dmitry L. Spivak

Institute of the Human Brain RAS; Likhachev Russian Research Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage

ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7276-5182

Dr. Sci. (Psychology and Phylology), Professor, Leading Researcher

Russian Federation, 6, Academika Lebedeva st., Saint Petersburg, 194044; Moscow


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Copyright (c) 2021 Spivak I.M., Zhekalov A.N., Glushakov A.I., Lemeshchenko A.V., Nyrov V.A., Trandina A.E., Shapovalov P.A., Zakharchuk A.G., Spivak D.L.

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