Task persistence is a construct that appears to have broad influence on child competence generally, from self regulation in carrying out tasks, to cognitive performance. In a recent developmental study of task persistence, Deater-Deckard and colleagues report that heritability of task persistence increased over time, whereas the contribution from the shared environment decreased during the transition from early to middle childhood. Two explanations for the developmental shift are discussed here: a choice hypothesis and a schooling hypothesis. An important next step lies in documenting gene-environment processes directly via hybrid research models, combining work in molecular biology with longitudinal observations of behavior.
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