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Behav Genet. 2001 Nov;31(6):581-92.

Genetic covariance among measures of information processing speed, working memory, and IQ.

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Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Brisbane, Australia.


The genetic relationship between lower (information processing speed), intermediate (working memory), and higher levels (complex cognitive processes as indexed by IQ) of mental ability was studied in a classical twin design comprising 166 monozygotic and 190 dizygotic twin pairs. Processing speed was measured by a choice reaction time (RT) task (2-, 4-, and 8-choice), working memory by a visual-spatial delayed response task, and IQ by the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery. Multivariate analysis, adjusted for test-retest reliability, showed the presence of a genetic factor influencing all variables and a genetic factor influencing 4- and 8-choice RTs, working memory, and IQ. There were also genetic factors specific to 8-choice RT, working memory, and IQ. The results confirmed a strong relationship between choice RT and IQ (phenotypic correlations: -0.31 to -0.53 in females, -0.32 to -0.56 in males; genotypic correlations: -0.45 to -0.70) and a weaker but significant association between working memory and IQ (phenotypic: 0.26 in females, 0.13 in males; genotypic: 0.34). A significant part of the genetic variance (43%) in IQ was not related to either choice RT or delayed response performance, and may represent higher order cognitive processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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