27 July 2015

The Heritability of Academic Achievement?

Do the following findings reflect your life and family history experience?

Based on studies of identical and fraternal twins academic performance at school a study Pleiotropy across academic subjects at the end of compulsory education reports:

  • Genes explain a larger proportion of the individual differences (54–65%) in academic performance than shared environmental factors, such as home and school environment combined (14–21%)
  • Intelligence at age 16 demonstrates substantial heritability (56%), with negligible effect of shared environmental influences (5%).
  • To a large extent, the same genes influence achievement across a wide range of academic subjects, even when controlling for intelligence. 
  • Intelligence may play a stronger role in the heritability of mathematics performance than for other subjects.
  • Art seems to be influenced by different shared environmental factors compared to core academic subjects.
So performance differences for all subjects are highly heritable at the end of compulsory education and many of the same genes affect different subjects independent of intelligence.

via a tweet by Debbie Kennett

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