Vol. 10, No. 4, 2004 Page 7


Genes are known to strongly influence cognitive ability, and a new twin study indicates that they influence school achievement as well.

Sheila Walker et al. asked teachers to evaluate the math and English performance of more than 1,000 seven-year-old monozygotic (identical) or dizygotic (fraternal) twin pairs. The identical twins were almost twice as similar in academic performance as the fraternal twins, indicating a strong genetic influence, since identical twins share twice as many genes as fraternal twins.


"Nature, nurture and academic achievement: a twin study of teacher assessments of 7-year-olds," S. O. Walker, S. A. Petrill, F. M. Spinath, and R. Plomin, British Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol. 74, Pt. 3, September 2004, 323-42. Address: Sheila Walker, Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London, UK, sheila.walker@iop.kcl.ac.uk.

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