Developmental Behavioral Genetic Research on Infant Information Processing: Detection of Continuity and Change

  • Lee A. Thompson
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (NSSA, volume 161)


The first infant intelligence tests assumed that cognitive development was a continuous process from infancy through adulthood. However, as the attempts to create a predictive infant test failed time after time, a discontinuity theory became the favored perspective. Recent evidence indicates that the continuity theory may not have been adequately tested and that cognitive development should be viewed from a more balanced perspective consisting of both change and continuity. In this chapter I will address the issue of continuities and discontinuities in mental development from infancy to adulthood using a developmental behavioral genetic approach. Data from the Colorado Adoption Project and from the Colorado Infant Twin Project will be used to support the following hypotheses: (1) measures of infant visual information processing administered during the first year of life will relate to later I.Q.; (2) these measures are genetically influenced during infancy; and (3) continuity of individual differences in intelligence from infancy to adulthood is at least in part genetically mediated.


Genetic Correlation Assortative Mating General Cognitive Ability Adoptive Family Infant Test 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    A. Binet and T. Simon. Methodes nouvelles pour le diagnostic du niveau intellectuel des anormaux. L’annee Psychologique 11: 191 (1905).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    F.L. Goodenough. A preliminary report on the effects of nursery school training upon intelligence tests scores of young children. 27th Yearbook of the National Society of Education 361 (1928).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    J. Brooks-Gunn and M. Weinraub. Origins of infant intelligence. In Origins of Infant Intelligence: Infancy and Early Childhood. M. Lewis (ed). Plenum Press, New York (1983).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    A. Gesell and G. Amatruda. Developmental Diagnosis. Paul B. Holber, New York (1941).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    N. Bayley. The California First Year Mental Scale. University of California Press, Berkeley (1933).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    P. Cattell. The Measurement of Intelligence of Infants and Young Children. The Psychological Testing Corporation, New York (1940).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    N. Bayley. Bayley Scales of Infant Development. The Psychological Testing Corporation, New York (1969).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    C.A. Berg and R.J. Sternberg. Response to novelty: continuity versus discontinuity in the developmental course of intelligence. In Advances in Child Development and Behavior. H.W. Rees (ed). Academic Press, New York (1985).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    C.A. Berg and R.J. Sternberg. Response to novelty: continuity versus discontinuity in the developmental course of intelligence. In Advances in Child Development and Behavior. H.W. Rees (ed). Academic Press, New York (1985).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    J.F. Fagan and L.T. Singer. Infant recognition memory as a measure of intelligence. In Advances in Infancy Research, Volume 2. L.P. Lipsitt (ed). Ablex, Norwood (1983).Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    M.H. Bornstein and M.D. Sigman. Continuity in mental development from infancy. Child Dev. 57: 251 (1986).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    R. Kail and J.W. Pellegrino. Human Intelligence: Perspectives and Prospects. W.H. Freeman, New York (1985).Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    J.F. Fagan and S.K. McGrath. Infant recognition memory and later intelligence. Intelligence 5: 121 (1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    M.J. O’Connor, S. Cohen, and A.H. Parmalee. Infant auditory discrimination in preterm and full-term infants as a predictor of 5-year intelligence. Dev. Psychol. 20: 159 (1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    M. Lewis and J. Brooks-Gunn. Visual attention at three months as a predictor of cognitive functioning at two years. Intelligence 5: 131 (1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    J.F. Fagan. The intelligent infant: theoretical implications. Intelligence 8: 1 (1984).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    L. Erlenmeyer-Kimling and L.F. Jarvik. Genetics and intelligence: a review. Science 142: 1477 (1963).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    T.J. Bouchard and M. McGue. Familial studies of intelligence: a review. Science 212: 1055 (1981).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    R. Plomin, J.C. DeFries and G. McClearn. Behavioral Genetics: A Primer. W.H. Freeman, New York (1980).Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    R. Plomin. Development, Genetics, and Psychology. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale (1986).Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    R. Plomin and J.C. DeFries. Multivariate behavioral genetics and development: twin studies. In Twin Research: Intelligence, Personality and Development. L. Gedda, P. Parisi, and W.E. Nance (eds). Alan R. Liss, New York (1981).Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    R. Plomin and J.C. DeFries. Origins of Individual Differences in Infancy. The Colorado Adoption Project. Academic Press, Orlando (1985).Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    R. Plomin and J.C. DeFries. The Colorado Adoption Project. Child Dev. 54: 276 (1983).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    J.C. DeFries, R. Plomin, S.G. Vanderberg and A.R. Kuse. Parent-offspring resemblance for cognitive abilities in the Colorado Adoption Project: biological, adoptive, and control parents and one-year-old children. Intelligence 5:121 (1981).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    D. Wechsler. The Measurement and Appraisal of Adult Intelligence. Fourth Edition. Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore (1958).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    J.F. Fagan and P.A. Shepherd. The Fagan Test of Infant Intelligence: Training Manual. Infantest Corporation, Cleveland (1986).Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    E.H. Cornell. Infants; recognition memory, forgetting and savings. Exp. Child Psychol. 28: 359 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 29.
    M.M. Haith, C. Hazen and G.S. Goodman. Expectation and anticipation of dynamic visual events by 3.5 month-old babies. Child Dev. (in press).Google Scholar
  29. 30.
    A.R. Jensen and E. Munro. Reaction time, movement time, and intelligence. Intelligence 3: 121 (1974).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 31.
    J. F. Fagan. Infant memory. In Review of Human Development. T. Field, A. Huston, H. Quay, L. Troll, and G. Finley (eds). Wiley, New York (1982).Google Scholar
  31. 32.
    J.C. DeFries, R. Plomin and M.C. LaBuda. Genetic stability of cognitive development from childhood to adulthood. Dev. Psychol. 23: 4 (1987).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 33.
    J.C. Loehlin and R.C. Nichols. Heredity, Environment, and Personality. University of Texas Press, Austin (1976).Google Scholar
  33. 34.
    L.A. Thompson. Prediction of adult I.Q. from infant measures of novelty preference and visual anticipation: twin and adoption data. Unpublished doctoral disseration. University of Colorado, Boulder (1987).Google Scholar
  34. 35.
    D.W. Fulker and J.C. DeFries. Genetic and environmental transmission in the Colorado Adoption Project: path analysis. Br. J. Math. Stat. Psychol. 36: 175 (1983).PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 36.
    B. Bennet, D.W. Fulker, and J.C. DeFries. Familial resemblance for general cognitive ability in the Hawaii Family Study of Cognition. Behay. Genet. 15: 401 (1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lee A. Thompson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCase Western Reserve UniversityClevelandUSA

Personalised recommendations