My aversion to scooping poop out of my cat’s litter box could be preventing me from realizing my career potential!
According to new research from the University of Colorado Boulder — picked up and shared with cat poop headlines across the internet — infection from the Toxoplasma gondii parasite found in cat feces could make humans more likely to pursue entrepreneurial and business-related activities.
In studying nearly 1,500 undergrads, researchers said in a news release that they found “T. gondii-positive individuals were 1.4 times more likely to major in business and 1.7 times more likely to pursue a management and entrepreneurship emphasis.”
An additional survey of 197 adult professionals attending entrepreneurship events found that infected individuals were 1.8 times more likely to have started their own business compared with other attendees. T. gondii infects an estimated 2 billion people worldwide.
The fear of striking out and trying something risky is related to the affect the parasite has on rodents, which when infected with the parasite, makes them less fearful of cats. This behavior makes mice and whatever else more likely to get eaten by a cat, and thus benefits the parasite and its life cycle.
The study was published in the journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” and was led by Stefanie K. Johnson, an associate professor in CU Boulder’s Leeds School of Business, and Pieter Johnson, a professor in the school’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
“As humans, we like to think that we are in control of our actions,” Pieter Johnson said. “But emerging research shows that the microorganisms we encounter in our daily lives have the potential to influence their hosts in significant ways.”