-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Being poor can prevent young
children from reaching their full genetic potential of mental
ability, a new study shows.
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin looked at 750
sets of twins who took a test of cognitive ability at ages 10
months and 2 years. During the tests the children were asked to
perform such tasks as pulling a string to ring a bell, placing
three cubes in a cup, and matching pictures.
At 10 months, children from all socioeconomic backgrounds
performed the same on the test. But by 2 years, children from
richer families scored significantly higher than those from poorer
families, the investigators found.
The study results, published in the January issue of the journal
Psychological Science, don't suggest that children from wealthier families are genetically superior or smarter. These children simply have more opportunity to reach their potential, explained study author Elliott Tucker-Drob, an assistant professor of psychology, in a university news release.
These findings indicate that "nature" and "nurture" work
together to affect a child's development and that the right
environment can help children begin to reach their genetic
potential at a much younger age than previously thought, he
"You can't have environmental contributions to a child's development without genetics. And you can't have genetic contributions without environment. Socioeconomic disadvantages suppress children's genetic potentials," Tucker-Drob said.
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