Early manifestations of intellectual performance: Evidence that genetic effects on later academic test performance are mediated through verbal performance in early childhood

Chloe Austerberry, Pasco Fearon, Angelica Ronald, Leslie D. Leve, Jody M. Ganiban, Misaki N. Natsuaki, Daniel S. Shaw, Jenae M. Neiderhiser, David Reiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Intellectual performance is highly heritable and robustly predicts lifelong health and success but the earliest manifestations of genetic effects on this asset are not well understood. This study examined whether early executive function (EF) or verbal performance mediate genetic influences on subsequent intellectual performance, in 561 U.S.-based adoptees (57% male) and their birth and adoptive parents (70% and 92% White, 13% and 4% African American, 7% and 2% Latinx, respectively), administered measures in 2003–2017. Genetic influences on children's academic performance at 7 years were mediated by verbal performance at 4.5 years (β =.22, 95% CI [0.08, 0.35], p =.002) and not via EF, indicating that verbal performance is an early manifestation of genetic propensity for intellectual performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e188-e206
JournalChild development
Volume93
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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