Age and the Self-Perception of Ability: A Twin Study Analysis

Matt Mc Gue, Betsy A Hirsch, David T. Lykken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Two thousand nine hundred seventy-four adults, including 678 monozygotic and 547 dizygotic twin pairs, aged 27-86 years, self-rated ability on 6 factors: Interpersonal Competence, Workplace Skills, Trade Skills, Intellectual and Cultural, Domestic Skills, and Athletic Competition. Age accounted for no more than 2% of the variance on any factor, and, although there were significant gender effects, no significant Age × Gender interactions were observed. Twin similarity did not vary significantly with age, and biometrical variance component estimates were statistically homogenous across age with talent factor variance being apportioned approximately equally to genetic and nonshared environmental factors. Consistent failure to find age effects as well as consistent observation of significant heritability support the conclusion that self-concept crystallizes early in adulthood and reflects genetically influenced psychological characteristics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-80
Number of pages9
JournalPsychology and aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1993


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