Most Reported Genetic Associations With General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives

Christopher F. Chabris, Benjamin M. Hebert, Daniel J. Benjamin, Jonathan Beauchamp, David Cesarini, Matthijs van der Loos, Magnus Johannesson, Patrik K E Magnusson, Paul Lichtenstein, Craig S. Atwood, Jeremy Freese, Taissa S. Hauser, Robert M. Hauser, Nicholas Christakis, David Laibson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    General intelligence (g) and virtually all other behavioral traits are heritable. Associations between g and specific single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in several candidate genes involved in brain function have been reported. We sought to replicate published associations between g and 12 specific genetic variants (in the genes DTNBP1, CTSD, DRD2, ANKK1, CHRM2, SSADH, COMT, BDNF, CHRNA4, DISC1, APOE, and SNAP25) using data sets from three independent, well-characterized longitudinal studies with samples of 5,571, 1,759, and 2,441 individuals. Of 32 independent tests across all three data sets, only 1 was nominally significant. By contrast, power analyses showed that we should have expected 10 to 15 significant associations, given reasonable assumptions for genotype effect sizes. For positive controls, we confirmed accepted genetic associations for Alzheimer's disease and body mass index, and we used SNP-based calculations of genetic relatedness to replicate previous estimates that about half of the variance in g is accounted for by common genetic variation among individuals. We conclude that the molecular genetics of psychology and social science requires approaches that go beyond the examination of candidate genes.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1314-1323
    Number of pages10
    JournalPsychological Science
    Volume23
    Issue number11
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2012

    Fingerprint

    Intelligence
    Single Nucleotide Polymorphism
    Genes
    Social Sciences
    Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
    Apolipoproteins E
    Longitudinal Studies
    Molecular Biology
    Alzheimer Disease
    Body Mass Index
    Genotype
    Psychology
    Brain
    Datasets

    Keywords

    • behavior genetics
    • cognitive ability
    • genetics
    • individual differences
    • intelligence

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)

    Cite this

    Chabris, C. F., Hebert, B. M., Benjamin, D. J., Beauchamp, J., Cesarini, D., van der Loos, M., ... Laibson, D. (2012). Most Reported Genetic Associations With General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives. Psychological Science, 23(11), 1314-1323. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611435528

    Most Reported Genetic Associations With General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives. / Chabris, Christopher F.; Hebert, Benjamin M.; Benjamin, Daniel J.; Beauchamp, Jonathan; Cesarini, David; van der Loos, Matthijs; Johannesson, Magnus; Magnusson, Patrik K E; Lichtenstein, Paul; Atwood, Craig S.; Freese, Jeremy; Hauser, Taissa S.; Hauser, Robert M.; Christakis, Nicholas; Laibson, David.

    In: Psychological Science, Vol. 23, No. 11, 2012, p. 1314-1323.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Chabris, CF, Hebert, BM, Benjamin, DJ, Beauchamp, J, Cesarini, D, van der Loos, M, Johannesson, M, Magnusson, PKE, Lichtenstein, P, Atwood, CS, Freese, J, Hauser, TS, Hauser, RM, Christakis, N & Laibson, D 2012, 'Most Reported Genetic Associations With General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives', Psychological Science, vol. 23, no. 11, pp. 1314-1323. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611435528
    Chabris CF, Hebert BM, Benjamin DJ, Beauchamp J, Cesarini D, van der Loos M et al. Most Reported Genetic Associations With General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives. Psychological Science. 2012;23(11):1314-1323. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797611435528
    Chabris, Christopher F. ; Hebert, Benjamin M. ; Benjamin, Daniel J. ; Beauchamp, Jonathan ; Cesarini, David ; van der Loos, Matthijs ; Johannesson, Magnus ; Magnusson, Patrik K E ; Lichtenstein, Paul ; Atwood, Craig S. ; Freese, Jeremy ; Hauser, Taissa S. ; Hauser, Robert M. ; Christakis, Nicholas ; Laibson, David. / Most Reported Genetic Associations With General Intelligence Are Probably False Positives. In: Psychological Science. 2012 ; Vol. 23, No. 11. pp. 1314-1323.
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