The researchers said the OXT gene is involved in the production of oxytocin, which is hormone linked with a large number of social behaviors in people. It's sometimes referred to as the "love hormone."
For the study, the researchers from University of Georgia assessed more than 120 people. They conducted genetic tests and assessments of social skills, brain structure and brain function.
The study revealed that those with lower activity of the OXT gene had a harder time recognizing emotional facial expressions and were more anxious about their relationships with loved ones.
"All of our tests indicate that the OXT gene plays an important role in social behavior and brain function," lead author Brian Haas, an assistant professor of psychology, said in a university news release.
Haas, however, noted that these are preliminary findings and more studies should be done in this field.
The findings of the study were published on June 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.