Socioeconomic status and genetic influences on cognitive development

David N. Figlio, Jeremy Freese*, Krzysztof Karbownik, Jeffrey Roth, James J. Heckman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Accurate understanding of environmental moderation of genetic influences is vital to advancing the science of cognitive development as well as for designing interventions. One widely reported idea is increasing genetic influence on cognition for children raised in higher socioeconomic status (SES) families, including recent proposals that the pattern is a particularly US phenomenon. We used matched birth and school records from Florida siblings and twins born in 1994-2002 to provide the largest, most populationdiverse consideration of this hypothesis to date. We found no evidence of SES moderation of genetic influence on test scores, suggesting that articulating gene-environment interactions for cognition is more complex and elusive than previously supposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13441-13446
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number51
StatePublished - Dec 19 2017


  • Behavior genetics
  • Cognition
  • Environmental moderation
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Twin studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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