Garon-Carrier G, Boivin M, Kovas Y, Feng B, Brendgen M, Vitaro F, Séguin JR, Tremblay RE, Dionne G. (2017). Persistent genetic and family-wide environmental contributions to early number knowledge and later achievement in mathematics. Psychological Science. 12: 1707-1718.
This study investigated the stable and transient genetic and environmental contributions to individual differences in number knowledge in the transition from preschool (age 5) to Grade 1 (age 7) and to the predictive association between early number knowledge and later math achievement (age 10–12). We conducted genetic simplex modeling across these three time points. Genetic variance was transmitted from preschool number knowledge to late-elementary math achievement; in addition, significant genetic innovation (i.e., new influence) occurred at ages 10 through 12 years. The shared and nonshared environmental contributions decreased during the transition from preschool to school entry, but shared and nonshared environment contributed to the continuity across time from preschool number knowledge to subsequent number knowledge and math achievement. There was no new environmental contribution at time points subsequent to preschool. Results are discussed in light of their practical implications for children who have difficulties with mathematics, as well as for preventive intervention.