About 70 percent of a person’s intelligence can be explained by their DNA—and those genetic influences only get stronger with age, according to new research by psychology researchers Daniel Briley, Elliot Tucker-Drob and Paige Harden.
Using meta-analytic procedures—the statistical methods used to analyze and combine results from previous, related literature—the researchers examined genetic and environmental influences on cognition in twin and sibling pairs from infancy to adolescence.
According to the findings, genes influencing cognition become activated during the first decade of life and accelerate over time. The results emphasize the importance of early literacy and education during the first decade of life.
“The conventional view is that genes place an upper limit on the effects of social intervention on cognitive development,” says Tucker-Drob, assistant professor of psychology. “This research suggests the opposite. As social, educational and economic opportunities increase in a society, more children will have access to the resources they need to maximize their genetic potentials.”