The Genetic and Environmental Origins of Learning Abilities and Disabilities in the Early School Years
February 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Despite the importance of learning abilities and disabilities in education and child development, little is known about their genetic and environmental origins in the early school years.
- This study reports results for English (which includes reading, writing, and speaking), mathematics, and science as well as general cognitive ability in a large and representative sample of U.K. twins studied at 7, 9, and 10 years of age
- Presents new univariate, multivariate, and longitudinal analyses that systematically examine genetic and environmental influences for the entire sample at all ages for all measures for both the low extremes (disabilities) and the entire sample (abilities)
- Draws conclusions have far-reaching implications for education and child development as well as for molecular genetics and neuroscience
I. INTRODUCTION 1.
II. METHODS 14.
III. NATURE AND NURTURE 49.
IV. THE ABNORMAL IS NORMAL 60.
V. GENETIC STABILITY, ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE 67.
VI. GENERALIST GENES, SPECIALIST ENVIRONMENTS 82.
VII. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 105.
Richard A. Weinberg 145.
DYNAMIC DEVELOPMENT AND DYNAMIC EDUCATION.
Jennifer M. Thomson and Kurt W. Fischer 150.
STATEMENT OF EDITORIAL POLICY 159
Claire M. A. Haworth is a Ph.D. Student at the Social,
Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre at the Institute of
Psychiatry. In 2004 she graduated from Oxford University with a
B.A. in Experimental Psychology, and in 2006 was awarded an M.Sc.
in Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry. Her research
interests include the use of quantitative and molecular genetic
techniques to unravel the genetic and environmental influences on
quantitative traits. Her traits of interest include academic and
cognitive abilities and disabilities. Claire is particularly
interested in science performance in schools, and how science is
related to other cognitive and academic abilities.
Philip S. Dale is Professor and Chair of Speech and
Hearing Sciences at the University of New Mexico. He received his
Ph.D. in communication sciences from the University of Michigan in
1968. His current research interests center on issues of
assessment, sources, and consequences of individual differences in
early language development and the emergence of literacy,
cross-linguistic and cross-cultural comparisons, and outcomes of
parent- and classroom-based intervention for developmental
Robert Plomin is MRC Research Professor and Deputy
Director of the SGDP Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry in
London. He received his Ph.D. in psychology from the University of
Texas at Austin in 1974. He was then at the Institute for
Behavioral Genetics in Boulder, Colorado (1974–1986) and at
Pennsylvania State University (1986–1994) until he moved to
London and launched the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS). His
current research combines quantitative genetic and molecular
genetic analyses of learning abilities and disabilities in
childhood. Richard A. Weinberg (Ph.D., 1968, University of
Minnesota) is Distinguished University Teaching Professor of Child
Psychology at the Institute of Child Development, University of
Minnesota, where he is also Director of the Center for Early
Education and Development and Adjunct Professor of Psychology and
Educational Psychology. He has collaborated with Sandra W. Scarr
for over 35 years pursuing research in developmental behavior
Jennifer Thomson is an Assistant Professor at the Harvard
Graduate School of Education, having moved from the Centre for
Neuroscience in Education, University of Cambridge, U.K. Her
current research focuses upon the links between language and
literacy development, specifically, the role of linguistic rhythm
sensitivity in dyslexia. She is also particularly interested in how
neuroscience can be usefully applied to the fields of learning and
Kurt Fischer analyzes cognition, emotion, and learning and their relation to biological development and educational assessment. In his research, he has discovered a scale that seems to assess learning and development in all domains, even when the skills created in each domain are independent. As head of the Mind, Brain, and Education program and Charles Bigelow Professor of Education and Human Development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he leads an international movement to connect biology and cognitive science to education. His most recent book is Mind, Brain, and Education in Reading Disorders (Cambridge University Press, 2006). He is founding president of the International Mind, Brain, and Education Society and founding editor of the journal Mind, Brain, and Education (Blackwell).