Genetic and environmental contributions to general cognitive ability through the first 16 years of life

Dev Psychol. 2004 Sep;40(5):805-12. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.40.5.805.


The genetic and environmental contributions to the development of general cognitive ability throughout the first 16 years of life were examined using sibling data from the Colorado Adoption Project. Correlations were analyzed along with structural equation models to characterize the genetic and environmental influences on longitudinal stability and instability. Intraclass correlations reflected both considerable genetic influence at each age and modest shared environmental influence within and across ages. Modeling results suggested that genetic factors mediated phenotypic stability throughout this entire period, whereas most age-to-age instability appeared to be due to nonshared environmental influences.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adoption / psychology
  • Age Factors
  • Aptitude*
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Colorado
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Intelligence / genetics*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phenotype
  • Siblings / psychology
  • Social Environment*
  • Statistics as Topic