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Behav Genet. 2012 Mar;42(2):209-20. doi: 10.1007/s10519-011-9502-1. Epub 2011 Sep 28.

Phenotypic and genetic analyses of the Wisconsin Card Sort.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado, Denver, CO, USA. godinez@colorado.edu

Abstract

The present study assessed the factor structure and etiology of traditional perseverative and nonperseverative errors, and six narrowly defined errors that occur during the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST). A computer-administered version of the WCST, designed to maximize the variance in a nonclinical sample, was used. Phenotypic factor analysis and twin models were used to examine the structure and genetic and environmental etiology in 191 monozygotic and 165 dizygotic adolescent twin pairs. Factor analysis did not support the traditional division of errors into perseverative and nonperseverative errors. Heritability of individual indices was small to moderate (a(2) = 0.10 - 0.42), with varying significance. Estimates of shared environment (c(2) = 0.00 - 0.14) were not significant. The best fitting multivariate genetic model had one genetic factor, with specific variance and covariance due to nonshared environmental influences. These results suggest that there are common underlying genetic influences on WCST indices, along with index-specific environmental variance that does not correspond to the traditional division between perseverative and nonperseverative errors.

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