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Environmental moderators of genetic influence on verbal and nonverbal abilities in early childhood

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Publication details

DatePublished - 2005
Issue number6
Number of pages19
Pages (from-to)643-661
Original languageEnglish


The study of genotype-environment interaction (G X E) has been dominated by two competing hypotheses, one that heritability is greater in high-risk environments (diathesis-stress) and the other that heritability is greater in permissive environments. The current study examined relationships between verbal and nonverbal abilities and 10 measured environments, using a sample of 4-year-old same-sex twins (N=4446 children). Significant G X E emerged for verbal ability with three of the environmental indices, all in the direction of the diathesis-stress model (family chaos, instructive parent-child communication and informal parent-child communication). No significant G x E emerged for nonverbal ability. We conclude that G X E exists for verbal ability in early childhood and tends to be in the direction of greater heritability in high-risk environments. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier Inc.

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