On the heritability of inspection time and its covariance with IQ: a twin study

M Luciano, G A Smith, M J Wright, G M Geffen, L B Geffen, N G Martin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using the classical twin design, this study investigates the influence of genetic factors on the large phenotypic variance in inspection time (IT), and whether the well established IT-IQ association can be explained by a common genetic factor. Three hundred ninety pairs of twins (184 monozygotic, MZ; 206 dizygotic, DZ) with a mean age of 16 years participated, and 49 pairs returned approximately 3 months, later for retesting. As in many IT studies, the pi figure stimulus was used and IT was estimated from the cumulative normal ogive. IT ranged from 39.4 to 774.1 ms (159 +/- 110.1 ms) with faster ITs (by an average of 26.9 ms) found in the retest session from which a reliability of .69 was estimated. Full-scale IQ (FIQ) was assessed by the Multidimensional Aptitude Battery (MAB) and ranged from 79 to 145 (111 +/- 13). The phenotypic association between IT and FIQ was confirmed (- .35) and bivariate results showed that a common genetic factor accounted for 36% of the variance in IT and 32% of the variance in FIQ. The maximum likelihood estimate of the genetic correlation was - .63. When performance and verbal IQ (PIQ & VIQ) were analysed with IT, a stronger phenotypic and genetic relationship was found between PIQ and IT than with VIQ. A large part of the IT variance (64%) was accounted for by a unique environmental factor. Further genetic factors were needed to explain the remaining variance in IQ with a small component of unique environmental variance present. The separability of a shared genetic factor influencing IT and IQ from the total genetic variance in IQ suggests that IT affects a specific subcomponent of intelligence rather than a generalised efficiency. (C) 2001 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)443-457
Number of pages15
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • IT
  • IQ
  • heritability
  • twins
  • quantitative genetics
  • MASK
  • PEST


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