Environmental Influence on Math Cognitive Ability: A Sibling Study
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Previous research has shown that there is a relationship between speed of information processing, as measured by general reaction time (RT) on various simple tasks, and standard tests of cognitive ability. Moreover, this relationship is partly due to shared genes and partly due to shared environment. When the environmental factors have been further analyzed, it appears that the environmental influences are mostly due to non-shared factors, i.e., the influences that make siblings from the same family different. To date, little has been done to investigate if the same relationships exist for academic achievement domains, such as mathematics. This study compared the relationship between RT and standard tests that measure mathematics. As the sample is comprised of sibling pairs, we were also able to examine the amount of variance due to Between Family (BF) factors (i.e., the environmental factors that make siblings alike) and Within-family (WF) factors (i.e., the environmental factors that make siblings different). This study seeks to examine (a) if there is a relationship between RT and traditional tests of mathematics, and (b), if there is a relationship, how much of the environmental influences are due to BF vs. WF factors.