Thinking of starting your own business? Maybe you need a cat for motivation.
University of Colorado researchers have reported that Toxoplasma gondii infections, known as toxoplasmosis and caused by a parasite in cat feces, seemed to be associated with entrepreneurial behavior. According to the study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, those who are infected are more likely to start their own business or major in business.
The study is the fruit of a married couple's shared interest in T. gondii. Stefanie Johnson, an associate professor of business, and biology professor Pieter Johnson often lectured their classes on the parasite and seized on a rare chance to collaborate.
The Johnsons and a team of researchers tested the saliva of 1,495 undergrads at entrepreneur seminars. Those testing positive were 1.4 times more likely to be business majors and 1.7 times more likely to be pursuing studies with an emphasis on management or entrepreneurship. Adults testing positive were 1.8 times more likely to have launched a business.
The study also took a wider look and found nations with a higher prevalence of the infection showed fewer people who cited a “fear of failure” as a deterrent for launching a business.
Research has also shown that toxoplasmosis can make mice lose their fear of cats. Outliers can only hope it will help inspire some entrepreneur to build a better mousetrap.