Replication of a Gene–Environment Interaction Via Multimodel Inference: Additive-Genetic Variance in Adolescents’ General Cognitive Ability Increases with Family-of-Origin Socioeconomic Status

Robert M. Kirkpatrick, Matt Mc Gue, William G Iacono

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14 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)200-214
Number of pages15
JournalBehavior Genetics
Volume45
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Keywords

  • Adoption study
  • General cognitive ability
  • Gene–environment interaction
  • IQ
  • Multimodel inference
  • SES
  • Twin study

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