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Child Dev. 2012 Mar-Apr;83(2):743-57. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01721.x. Epub 2012 Jan 30.

Intellectual interest mediates gene × socioeconomic status interaction on adolescent academic achievement.

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Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A8000, Austin, TX 78712-0187, USA.


Recent studies have demonstrated that genetic influences on cognitive ability and academic achievement are larger for children raised in higher socioeconomic status (SES) homes. However, little work has been done to document the psychosocial processes that underlie this Gene × Environment interaction. One process may involve the conversion of intellectual interest into academic achievement. Analyses of data from 777 pairs of 17-year-old twins indicated that Gene × SES effects on achievement scores can be accounted for by stronger influences of genes for intellectual interest on achievement at higher levels of SES. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that higher SES affords greater opportunity for children to seek out and benefit from learning experiences that are congruent with their genetically influenced intellectual interests.

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