Wealth and Its Impact on Children’s Mental Abilities

Many traits have been studied to see what actually determines a child’s mental abilities.  Nature vs. nurture is a common debate.  Recent research from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Virginia tested the mental abilities of 750 pairs of twins to determine if wealth made an impact.  Their abilities were analyzed at 10 months and again at 2 years. 

According to WSJ.com, “When it came to the mental ability of 10-month-olds, the home environment was the key variable, across every socioeconomic class. But results for the 2-year-olds were dramatically different. In children from poorer households, the choices of parents still mattered. In fact, the researchers estimated that the home environment accounted for approximately 80% of the individual variance in mental ability among poor 2-year-olds. The effect of genetics was negligible. The opposite pattern appeared in 2-year-olds from wealthy households. For these kids, genetics primarily determined performance, accounting for nearly 50% of all variation in mental ability. (The scientists made this conclusion based on the fact that identical twins performed much more similarly than fraternal twins.) The home environment was a distant second. For parents, the correlation appears to be clear: As wealth increases, the choices of adults play a much smaller role in determining the mental ability of their children.”

To read more about this study, check out the following article by the Wall Street Journal by clicking here.