A few weeks ago, we kicked off a short video series on the ‘Nature vs Nurture’ debate by looking at a unique piece of research that measured bright and dull rats across different environments.
We learned that genes don’t actually work in the way we’ve traditionally been led to believe, and that genetic expression and environment are inextricably linked.
In video two of this series, we shift our focus from rats to humans by looking at a study that measures genetics and socioeconomic status against academic performance:
Predicting Educational Achievement from Genomic Measures and Socioeconomic Status (Sophie von Stumm et al, 2019)
When this study was first published a few years back it received a good amount of publicity. The main takeaway was that ‘genes and family’ are strong predictors of academic success – and this is largely true … on a group level.
Unfortunately, what was lost in the crude media coverage was just how much variability existed in the data on an individual level – both from a genetic and socioeconomic standpoint.
I address this issue in the video, but suffice it to say that the notion of applying group predictors to individual students raises some serious concerns.
Here are some of the specific questions I tackle in this installment: