The genetics of university success: study

A study linking university success with genes, is going viral The genetics of university success

University success, which includes enrolment in and achievement at university, as well as quality of the university, have all been linked to later earnings, health and wellbeing. However, little is known about the causes and correlates of differences in university-level outcomes. Capitalizing on both quantitative and molecular genetic data, we perform the first genetically sensitive investigation of university success with a UK-representative sample of 3,000 genotyped individuals and 3,000 twin pairs. Twin analyses indicate substantial additive genetic influence on university entrance exam achievement (57%), university enrolment (51%), university quality (57%) and university achievement (46%). We find that environmental effects tend to be non-shared, although the shared environment is substantial for university enrolment. Furthermore, using multivariate twin analysis, we show moderate to high genetic correlations between university success variables (0.27–0.76). Analyses using DNA alone also support genetic influence on university success. Indeed, a genome-wide polygenic score, derived from a 2016 genome-wide association study of years of education, predicts up to 5% of the variance in each university success variable. These findings suggest young adults select and modify their educational experiences in part based on their genetic propensities and highlight the potential for DNA-based predictions of real-world outcomes, which will continue to increase in predictive power

It’s not as controversial anymore attributing differences of athletic success to genes, but academic success is still a thorny issue. My guess is there is a lot of money and jobs at stake in perpetuating a set of systems and beliefs that don’t work as well as previously thought (sunk cost fallacy comes to mind).

You don’t even need these gene studies to know academic performance is heritable. All it does is help confirm what is otherwise obvious but willfully denied due to political correctness and wishful thinking. Ever notice how college-educated parents tend to have college-educated kids. Or how siblings tend to have similar levels of education. Some families are really educated and have a lot of PHDs at a much higher rate than the general population; some families tend to be musically inclined and have a lot of musicians; others have a lot of retired athletes relative to the general population; some families are less educated; and so on.

It’s part of the American mythos/religion that adversity and differences can be overcome through environmental factors such as ‘grit’ and ‘hard work’, so biological determinism is an affront to this cherished belief, and explains part of the resistance to such studies. No, some people are more biologically preordained/destined for academic success than others, just as some people can become marathon runners with ease and others struggle to run laps around the block. Second, as mentioned above, there are billions of dollars and thousands of jobs at stake in promulgating an education and belief system that may not work. Billions of taxpayer dollars every year are spent trying to close an achievement gap that is biological, not environmental, making it much more difficult, if not impossible, to rectify through social intervention.

Same for the college-industrial-complex, which is also predicated on a similar delusion and is propped-up by financial interests. 90% of student debt is federal at a cost of taxpayer dollars, and it’s a statistical certainty many recipients of such loans are not cognitively suited for college, resulting in a lot of drop-outs, crippling debt, and wasted money. Some would argue that making student loans contingent on IQ is discriminatory or racist because it denies certain people opportunities, but it’s actually the opposite in that by preventing people from going to college when they will most likely fail, means they have more opportunity and money to pursue more fruitful endeavors without being weighed down by debt or wasting time trying to obtain a degree when they will likely fail.

A question that often comes up is, how is a meritocracy compatible with HBD. If some people are biologically preordained to a lower socioeconomic status, then how is it a meritocracy. This objection demonstrates a misunderstanding of how a meritocracy works. A meritocracy does not ensure equality of outcomes, but rather is based on equality of opportunity. This can be reconciled through the meritocracy stratified by IQ. Just as there are high IQ meritocracies in Silicon Valley and in the financial sector, there are less intelligent meritocracies in other sectors and regions. It does not mean the second group cannot have a productive life, and some are even more successful than the first group. Jordan Peterson is right that it’s hard to find good workers, for all cognitive levels of professions. A hard-working plumber who does does his job well can be as useful to society and as successful as someone who is smart but lazy.