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Comparative Study
, 40 (5), 805-12

Genetic and Environmental Contributions to General Cognitive Ability Through the First 16 Years of Life

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Comparative Study

Genetic and Environmental Contributions to General Cognitive Ability Through the First 16 Years of Life

Stephen A Petrill et al. Dev Psychol.

Abstract

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.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Longitudinal genetic (A) model. Variance in cognitive skills from age 1 to age 16 is influenced by genetic common-factor (ΓA), genetic simplex (βA), and age-specific genetic (ΨA) variance. For the sake of clarity, shared and nonshared environmental influences are not shown, but they were estimated simultaneously with genetic influences using the same common-factor, simplex, and age-specific structure. The paths (I) from G1 through G16 to Year 1 through Year 16 were constrained to unity.

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