Behavior Genetics

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 371–379 | Cite as

The Genetic and Environmental Etiology of High Math Performance in 10-Year-Old Twins

  • Stephen A. PetrillEmail author
  • Yulia Kovas
  • Sara A. Hart
  • Lee A. Thompson
  • Robert Plomin
Original Research


The genetic and environmental etiology of high math performance (at or above the 85%tile) was examined in a population-based sample of 10-year-old twins (nMZ = 1,279, nDZ = 2,305). Math skills were assessed using a web-based battery of math performance tapping skills related to the UK National Math Curriculum. Probandwise concordance rates and liability threshold models indicated that genetic and shared environmental influences were significant, and that these estimates were generally similar to those obtained across the normal range of ability and did not vary significantly by gender. These results suggest that the genetic and environmental influences at the high end of ability are likely to be continuous with those that affect the entire range of math performance across all children irrespective of gender.


Mathematics High ability Gender Twins Liability threshold 



Supported by NICHD/IES HD046167.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen A. Petrill
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yulia Kovas
    • 2
  • Sara A. Hart
    • 1
  • Lee A. Thompson
    • 3
  • Robert Plomin
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family ScienceOhio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Research CentreInstitute of Psychiatry, University of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

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