The etiology of science performance: decreasing heritability and increasing importance of the shared environment from 9 to 12 years of age

Claire M A Haworth, Philip S Dale, Robert Plomin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

During childhood and adolescence, increases in heritability and decreases in shared environmental influences have typically been found for cognitive abilities. A sample of more than 2,500 pairs of twins from the Twins Early Development Study was used to investigate whether a similar pattern would be found for science performance from 9 to 12 years. Science performance was based on teacher-assessed U.K. National Curriculum standards. Science at 9 years showed high heritability (64%) and modest shared environmental (16%) estimates. In contrast to the expected developmental pattern, heritability was significantly lower at 12 years (47%) and shared environmental influences were significantly higher (32%). Understanding what these increasingly important shared environmental influences are could lead to interventions that encourage engagement in science throughout the lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-73
Number of pages12
JournalChild Development
Volume80
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2009

Keywords

  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Great Britain
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Assessment
  • Psychomotor Performance
  • Social Environment
  • Twin Studies as Topic
  • Twins
  • Twins, Dizygotic
  • Twins, Monozygotic

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