Thursday, April 09, 2015
Enjoyment of school is highly heritable
A huge and fascinating article below but it is greatly regrettable that the authors failed to control for an obvious confounder -- IQ. I reproduce only the abstract below but I have read the whole article and I can see no mention of IQ in it at all. Yet it seems to me that we have here a clear case of double counting. It is highly likely that dull kids find school a trial and that smart kids find it a breeze, not only being easy but producing praise from teachers and others. Many teachers smiled on me in my schooldays.
So are we just measuring IQ below? Impossible to be certain but highly likely, I think. I suspect that the authors have simply found that smart kids enjoy school more. Which is much less surprising than their findings initially appear. Try alternative explanations for the findings. I can't think of any.
With all the data that the authors must have had, it is strange that IQ was not controlled for. Why did they not? They DID control for social class, which it is often too politically incorrect to mention, so why not IQ? Perhaps that was a step too far in what they felt free to mention.
I have myself had a considerable number of articles published in the academic journal concerned so it vexes me that the current editor has put out an article with such a large and unacknowledged hole in it. There is a layman's version of the article here
Why children differ in motivation to learn: Insights from over 13,000 twins from 6 countries
Yulia Kovasa et al.
Little is known about why people differ in their levels of academic motivation. This study explored the etiology of individual differences in enjoyment and self-perceived ability for several school subjects in nearly 13,000 twins aged 9–16 from 6 countries. The results showed a striking consistency across ages, school subjects, and cultures. Contrary to common belief, enjoyment of learning and children’s perceptions of their competence were no less heritable than cognitive ability. Genetic factors explained approximately 40% of the variance and all of the observed twins’ similarity in academic motivation. Shared environmental factors, such as home or classroom, did not contribute to the twin’s similarity in academic motivation. Environmental influences stemmed entirely from individual specific experiences.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).