Socioeconomic status modifies heritability of IQ in young children

Eric Turkheimer, Andreana Haley, Mary Waldron, Brian D'Onofrio, Irving I. Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

779 Scopus citations

Abstract

Scores on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children were analyzed in a sample of 7-year-old twins from the National Collaborative Perinatal Project. A substantial proportion of the twins were raised in families living near or below the poverty level. Biometric analyses were conducted using models allowing for components attributable to the additive effects of genotype, shared environment, and non-shared environment to interact with socioeconomic status (SES) measured as a continuous variable. Results demonstrate that the proportions of IQ variance attributable to genes and environment vary nonlinearly with SES. The models suggest that in impoverished families, 60% of the variance in IQ is accounted for by the shared environment, and the contribution of genes is close to zero; in affluent families, the result is almost exactly the reverse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)623-628
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Volume14
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2003

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