New paper on gene-environment interaction

The authors include Eric Turkheimer and the abstract is here (link to paper requires a university connection I believe):

Recent research in behavioral genetics has found evidence for a Gene × Environment interaction on cognitive ability: Individual differences in cognitive ability among children raised in socioeconomically advantaged homes are primarily due to genes, whereas environmental factors are more influential for children from disadvantaged homes. We investigated the developmental origins of this interaction in a sample of 750 pairs of twins measured on the Bayley Short Form test of infant mental ability, once at age 10 months and again at age 2 years. A Gene × Environment interaction was evident on the longitudinal change in mental ability over the study period. At age 10 months, genes accounted for negligible variation in mental ability across all levels of socioeconomic status (SES). However, genetic influences emerged over the course of development, with larger genetic influences emerging for infants raised in higher-SES homes. At age 2 years, genes accounted for nearly 50% of the variation in mental ability of children raised in high-SES homes, but genes continued to account for negligible variation in mental ability of children raised in low-SES homes.

I found this to be an important paper.  One lesson is further confirmation that environment matters more for people in less fortunate circumstances (oddly, Progressive "dream policies" would bring about a world where genes matter much more at the margin than they do today).  A second lesson is how early "early intervention" has to be for potency, two years and under and that is assuming the procedures work in the first place.  The authors criticize Heckman but they do not follow up with much explanation.

For the pointer to the paper I thank Michelle Dawson.  Via Bryan Caplan, here are other papers by Turkheimer.


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