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Psychol Sci. 2009 Jun;20(6):753-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-9280.2009.02366.x. Epub 2009 May 15.

More than just IQ: school achievement is predicted by self-perceived abilities--but for genetic rather than environmental reasons.

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Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London SE5 8AF, United Kingdom.


Evidence suggests that children's self-perceptions of their abilities predict their school achievement even after one accounts for their tested cognitive ability (IQ). However, the roles of nature and nurture in the association between school achievement and self-perceived abilities (SPAs), independent of IQ, is unknown. Here we reveal that there are substantial genetic influences on SPAs and that there is genetic covariance between SPAs and achievement independent of IQ. Although it has been assumed that the origins of SPAs are environmental, this first genetic analysis of SPAs yielded a heritability of 51% in a sample of 3,785 pairs of twins, whereas shared environment accounted for only 2% of the variance in SPAs. Moreover, multivariate genetic analyses indicated that SPAs predict school achievement independently of IQ for genetic rather than environmental reasons. It should therefore be possible to identify "SPA genes" that predict school achievement independently of "IQ genes."

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