Domingue, Benjamin (2016). Polygenic predisposition to educational attainment and characteristics of individuals and their environments: Evidence from the Add Health study. 2016 Add Health Users Conference.
As we enter the second decade of the genetics era, the descriptive knowledge derived from twin studies is being replaced by predictive knowledge regarding how genetics influence phenotypes. To better understand the complex process through which genetic differences lead to differences in attainment, the proposed study focuses on three questions involving mediation, distribution, and moderation of genetic influence on educational attainment, respectively. (1) Can we identify causal pathways through which the polygenic score leads to increased education? (2) Are there distributional differences of the polygenic score across relevant environments, such as schools? (3) Are there detectable environmental moderations of the effect of genetic predisposition on educational attainment? With respect to (1), we expect to find that increased genetic predisposition towards attainment is associated with higher cognitive ability. However, it is as of yet unclear whether the genetic effect is additionally mediated through psychological or health benefits. With respect to (2), we expect to see non-random patterning of predisposition across schools. Of particular interest is whether this study is able to identify school environments which are also associated with the polygenic influence on attainment. With respect to (3), we think it is too soon to know.
2016 Add Health Users Conference
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