A Mind-Controlling Parasite in Cat Poop Increases Your Chances of Being an Entrepreneur, Study Finds

New research shows that those infected with toxoplasma, a parasite found in feline fecal matter, are more likely to take risks.
A Mind-Controlling Parasite in Cat Poop Increases Your Chances of Being an Entrepreneur, Study Finds
Image credit: Paula Daniëlse | Getty Images
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Here's a scoop: exposure to cat poop can increase a person's chances of becoming an entrepreneur. Research by the University of Colorado has shown that those infected with toxoplasma, a mind-controlling parasite found in cat feces, were more likely to major in business and start businesses than those uninfected.

Though harmful to mental and physical health, toxoplasma may give a person more courage because it decreases fear of failure and consequently increases tolerance for risk. And risks are a key component of entrepreneurship. In the study, rodents exposed to cat poop were less likely to show fear at the scent of cat urine, in comparison to the unexposed rodents.

Related: 5 Ways Fear of Failure Can Ruin Your Business

Stefanie Johnson, professor and researcher at the University of Colorado, conducted a study with her husband to see if this effect translated to human behavior in entrepreneurship. They administered saliva tests to around 1,500 students to check for T. gondii antibodies. If antibodies were present, the students were infected with the parasite at some point in time.

Results showed that 22 percent of the students were infected. The infected students were 1.4 times more likely to be business majors, 1.7 times more likely to specialize in management and entrepreneurship, and 1.8 times more likely to start a business.

Related: 12 Things You Need to Know About Fear, and How You Can Be a Better Entrepreneur Because of It

To be sure, we're not suggesting you go digging around in feline fecal matter. Those infected with the parasite are more likely to suffer from “car accidents, mental illness, neuroticism, drug abuse and suicide,” Johnson warns. It can also cause miscarriages and birth defects.

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