A popular theory holds that genes play a larger role in brain development for children from advantaged environments than in those from poorer backgrounds, especially in the United States. But in the largest study to date using matched birth and school records, researchers from Northwestern University, Stanford University, and the University of Florida found family income won’t necessarily mitigate the effects of genetics on cognitive outcomes.
“While children from higher socio-economic status backgrounds have much better cognitive outcomes on average than those from lower socio-economic status households, genetics appear to matter just as much for both groups,” said Northwestern economist David Figlio, study lead author and dean of the School of Education and Social Policy. “Genes matter. Environment matters. But we find no evidence that the two interact.”