Although much genetic research has addressed normal variation in intelligence, little is known about the etiology of high cognitive abilities. Using data from 11,000 twin pairs (age range = 6-71 years) from the genetics of high cognitive abilities consortium, we investigated the genetic and environmental etiologies of high general cognitive ability (g). Age-appropriate psychometric cognitive tests were administered to the twins and used to create g scores standardized within each study. Liability-threshold model fitting was used to estimate genetic and environmental parameters for the top 15% of the distribution of g. Genetic influence for high g was substantial (0.50, with a 95% confidence interval of 0.41-0.60). Shared environmental influences were moderate (0.28, 0.19-0.37). We conclude that genetic variation contributes substantially to high g in Australia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- High cognitive ability