Heritability of Verbal and Performance Intelligence in a Pediatric Longitudinal Sample
Inge L C van Soelen et al.; 2011
The longitudinal stability of IQ is well-documented as is its increasing heritability with age. In a longitudinal twin study, we addressed the question to what extent heritability and stability differ for full scale (FSIQ), verbal (VIQ), and performance IQ (PIQ) in childhood (age 9–11 years), and early adolescence (age 12–14 years). Genetic and environmental influences and correlations over time were evaluated in an extended twin design, including Dutch twins and their siblings. Intelligence was measured by the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for children — Third version (WISC III). Heritability in childhood was 34% for FSIQ, 37% for VIQ, and 64% for PIQ, and increased up to 65%, 51%, and 72% in early adolescence. The influence of common environment decreased between childhood and early adolescence from explaining 43% of the phenotypic variance for FSIQ to 18% and from 42% for VIQ to 26%. For PIQ common environmental influences did not play a role, either in childhood or in early adolescence. The stability in FSIQ and VIQ across the 3-year interval (rp) was .72 for both measures and was explained by genetic and common environmental correlations across time (FSIQ, rg = .96, rc= 1.0; VIQ, rg=.78, rc= 1.0). Stability of PIQ (rp=.56) was lower and was explained by genetic influences (rg= .90). These results confirm the robust findings of increased heritability of general cognitive abilities during the transition from childhood to adolescence. Interestingly, results for PIQ differ from those for FSIQ and VIQ, in that no significant contribution of environment shared by siblings from the same family was detected.