Understanding the science-learning environment: A genetically sensitive approach

Claire M A Haworth*, Oliver S P Davis, Ken B. Hanscombe, Yulia Kovas, Philip S. Dale, Robert Plomin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Previous studies have shown that environmental influences on school science performance increase in importance from primary to secondary school. Here we assess for the first time the relationship between the science-learning environment and science performance using a genetically sensitive approach to investigate the aetiology of this link. 3000 pairs of 14-year-old twins from the UK Twins Early Development Study reported on their experiences of the science-learning environment and were assessed for their performance in science using a web-based test of scientific enquiry. Multivariate twin analyses were used to investigate the genetic and environmental links between environment and outcome. The most surprising result was that the science-learning environment was almost as heritable (43%) as performance on the science test (50%), and showed negligible shared environmental influence (3%). Genetic links explained most (56%) of the association between learning environment and science outcome, indicating gene-environment correlation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-150
Number of pages6
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013


  • Behavioural genetics
  • Gene-environment correlation
  • Learning environments
  • Science ability
  • Twins


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding the science-learning environment: A genetically sensitive approach'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this