The present study of general cognitive ability attempts to replicate and extend previous investigations of a biometric moderator, family-of-origin socioeconomic status (SES), in a sample of 2,494 pairs of adolescent twins, non-twin biological siblings, and adoptive siblings assessed with individually administered IQ tests. We hypothesized that SES would covary positively with additive-genetic variance and negatively with shared-environmental variance. Important potential confounds unaddressed in some past studies, such as twin-specific effects, assortative mating, and differential heritability by trait level, were found to be negligible. In our main analysis, we compared models by their sample-size corrected AIC, and base our statistical inference on model-averaged point estimates and standard errors. Additive-genetic variance increased with SES—an effect that was statistically significant and robust to model specification. We found no evidence that SES moderated shared-environmental influence. We attempt to explain the inconsistent replication record of these effects, and provide suggestions for future research.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.
- Adoption study
- General cognitive ability
- Gene–environment interaction
- Multimodel inference
- Twin study