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Behav Genet. 2005 Nov;35(6):695-706.

Genetic covariation between event-related potential (ERP) and behavioral non-ERP measures of working-memory, processing speed, and IQ.

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  • 1Genetic Epidemiology Laboratory, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Royal Brisbane Hospital, Post Office, Brisbane, Queensland 4029, Australia.


The aim of this study was to identify genetic covariants for fundamental measures of brain function (event-related potentials (ERPs): P300 latency and slow wave amplitude recorded in a working-memory task) and more complex cognitive measures (behavioral non-ERP measures: working-memory performance, information processing speed, IQ). Data were collected from 252 monozygotic and 297 dizygotic twin pairs aged 16. Multivariate modeling identified two independent genetic factors associated with processing speed that also influenced working-memory performance (one reflected the duration of neural activity required to evaluate target information, the other reflected more general cognitive and speed-related abilities). However, the allocation of neural resources, as assessed by ERP slow wave amplitude measures, was not associated with the other cognitive measures investigated. Thus, of the ERP measures examined, P300 latency, but not slow wave amplitude, may be an informative measure to include (i.e., with working-memory performance) in future multivariate linkage and association analyses of cognitive function.

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