19 March 2017

Heritability of Selected Traits

From an article in Nature.

IQ is slightly less heritable than height. Years of schooling is less heritable than IQ. Socio-emotional skills have a significant heritable component but consistently less than height, IQ, and years of schooling. BMI also has significant but lower heritability (although twins are anomalously similar in this trait).

There are environmental effects (note the differences between full and half-siblings respectively who are reared together and apart).

In terms of educational policy, there are two main takeaways. 

First, studies of the educational effectiveness of various approaches that don't control for heredity are inevitably swamped by noise, because heredity is a first order effect in educational outcomes.

Second, while we are powerless to do anything to respond to some hereditary effects on educational outcomes, others beyond predictors of IQ, such as predictors of personality, dyslexia or attention problems can be used to tailor suitable instruction approaches and coping strategies for particular students.

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