Working memory and parent-rated components of attention in middle childhood: a behavioral genetic study.

Wang Z, Deater-Deckard K, Cutting L, Thompson LA, Petrill SA
Behav Genet. 2012 42 (2): 199-208

PMID: 21948215 · PMCID: PMC3413272 · DOI:10.1007/s10519-011-9508-8

The purpose of the current study was to investigate potential genetic and environmental correlations between working memory and three behavioral aspects of the attention network (i.e., executive, alerting, and orienting) using a twin design. Data were from 90 monozygotic (39% male) and 112 same-sex dizygotic (41% male) twins. Individual differences in working memory performance (digit span) and parent-rated measures of executive, alerting, and orienting attention included modest to moderate genetic variance, modest shared environmental variance, and modest to moderate nonshared environmental variance. As hypothesized, working memory performance was correlated with executive and alerting attention, but not orienting attention. The correlation between working memory, executive attention, and alerting attention was completely accounted for by overlapping genetic covariance, suggesting a common genetic mechanism or mechanisms underlying the links between working memory and certain parent-rated indicators of attentive behavior.

MeSH Terms (11)

Attention Child Environment Gene-Environment Interaction Humans Male Memory, Short-Term Parents Phenotype Twins, Dizygotic Twins, Monozygotic

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