Generalist genes: implications for the cognitive sciences

  title={Generalist genes: implications for the cognitive sciences},
  author={Yulia Kovas and Robert Plomin},
  journal={Trends in Cognitive Sciences},
In the 'generalist genes' hypothesis, it is suggested that the same genes affect most cognitive abilities and disabilities. This recently proposed hypothesis is based on considerable multivariate genetic research showing that there is substantial genetic overlap between such broad areas of cognition as language, reading, mathematics and general cognitive ability. We assume that the hypothesis is correct and consider here its implications for cognitive neuroscience. In our opinion, the two key… Expand
Learning Abilities and Disabilities: Generalist Genes, Specialist Environments
  • Y. Kovas, R. Plomin
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Current directions in psychological science
  • 2007
These multivariate genetic findings of generalist genes and specialist environments have far-reaching implications for diagnosis and treatment of learning disabilities and for understanding the brain mechanisms that mediate these effects. Expand
Reading and Generalist Genes
It is shown that this early reading SNP set found to be associated with early reading ability also correlates with other aspects of literacy, components of mathematics, and more general cognitive abilities, providing support for the generalist genes hypothesis. Expand
Cognitive genomics: Searching for the genetic roots of neuropsychological functioning.
The latest developments in the genomics of cognition are reviewed, including a discussion of methodological advances in the genetic analysis of complex traits, and shared genetic contributions to cognitive abilities and neuropsychiatric disorders. Expand
Learning abilities and disabilities: Generalist genes in early adolescence
Despite developmental upheaval, generalist genes remain important into early adolescence, suggesting optimal strategies for molecular genetic studies seeking to identify the genes of small effect that influence learning abilities and disabilities. Expand
Generalist genes and the Internet generation: etiology of learning abilities by web testing at age 10
This work exploited the widespread access to inexpensive and fast Internet connections in the UK to assess 2541 pairs of 10‐year‐old twins for reading, mathematics and g, using a web‐based test battery, providing strong support for the Generalist Genes hypothesis. Expand
Genetic foundations of human intelligence
The human intelligence phenotype is described, the evidence for its heritability is summarized, an overview of and comment on molecular genetic studies are provided, and future progress in the field is commented on. Expand
Genetics and intelligence differences: five special findings
Five genetic findings that are special to intelligence differences and that have important implications for its genetic architecture and for gene-hunting expeditions are highlighted. Expand
Learning Abilities and Disabilities Genes, Specialist Environments
Twin studies comparing identical and frater- naltwinsconsistentlyshowsubstantialgeneticinfluenceon individual differences in learning abilities such as readingExpand
Genetics of language
It has long been hypothesised that the human faculty to acquire a language is in some way encoded in our genetic program. However, only recently has genetic evidence been available to begin toExpand
Genetic “General Intelligence,” Objectively Determined and Measured
The results elucidate the etiological basis for a long-known yet poorly-understood phenomenon, revealing a fundamental dimension of genetic sharing across diverse cognitive traits. Expand


Generalist genes and cognitive neuroscience
This work has shown that a single set of genes affects most cognitive abilities and disabilities, and this finding already has far-reaching implications for cognitive neuroscience, and will become even more revealing when this - presumably large - set of generalist genes is identified. Expand
Genetics and general cognitive ability (g)
This review considers g from a genetic perspective, suggesting not only that elementary cognitive tasks are genetically linked to psychometric g but also that genetic g pervades these tasks. Expand
Generalist genes and learning disabilities.
The authors reviewed recent quantitative genetic research on learning disabilities that led to the conclusion that genetic diagnoses differ from traditional diagnoses in that the effects of relevantExpand
Understanding the nature of the general factor of intelligence: the role of individual differences in neural plasticity as an explanatory mechanism.
  • D. Garlick
  • Psychology, Medicine
  • Psychological review
  • 2002
It is observed that if people differed in neural plasticity, or the ability to adapt their connections to the environment, then those highly developed in one intellectual ability would behighly developed in other intellectual abilities as well. Expand
The genetic basis of complex human behaviors.
Quantitative genetic research has built a strong case for the importance of genetic factors in many complex behavioral disorders and dimensions in the domains of psychopathology, personality, andExpand
Human intelligence differences: towards a combined experimental–differential approach
  • I. Deary
  • Medicine, Psychology
  • Trends in Cognitive Sciences
  • 2001
Progress towards discovering 'cognitive components' that, firstly, show individual differences and, secondly, relate to psychometric intelligence differences is described here at different nominal levels of analysis: 'psychometric', 'c cognitive-experimental' and 'psychophysical'. Expand
Looking down on human intelligence
Ian J. Deary's new book is about the biology of individual differences in intelligence. He views psychometrics - the measurement and statistical study of psychological traits, such as intelligence -Expand
Behavioral genetics in the postgenomic era
Behavioral Genetics The Role of Molecular Genetics in a Post Genomics World Recent Developments in Quantitative Trait Loci Analysis Practical Barriers to Identifying Complex Trait Loci AssessingExpand
The general factor of intelligence : how general is it?
Contents: Preface. Part I: Psychometric Approach. A. Demetriou, Tracing Psychology's Invisible Giant and Its Visible Guards. L. Stankov, "g": A Diminutive General. A.R. Jensen, Psychometric g:Expand
Widespread Cortical Networks Underlie Memory and Attention
The traditional view of cognitive mechanisms in the brain assigns discrete kinds of cognitive function, such as memory and attention, to discrete specialized areas of cortex. In his Perspective, Expand