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Commenter RR argues that IQ tests measure social class. If by social class he means the home one grew up in, the following author begs to differ:

First, family has little effect on whatever cognitive abilities you have after the age of 17. While family environment is potent early on, its effects fade away to low level by age 17 and become insignificant by maturity. As you grow up, you move outside the family and go to school, become a member of a peer group (your close friends), find a job, and marry. You enter a current environment that swamps the lingering effects of family environment. Current environment is surprisingly self-contained: it influences one’s current cognitive abilities with very little interference from past environments. Most of us assume that your early family environment leaves some indelible mark on your intelligence throughout life. But the literature shows this simply isn’t so.

Second, once the influence of family disappears, the cognitive quality of your current environment tends to match your genetic quality. This is often called the tendency toward “gene-environment co-relation”. This means simply that if your genes are at the 90th percentile for cognitive ability, your current environment tends to be at the 90th percentile of the population for cognitive quality…In other words, chance events aide, genes and current environment tend to match, so whatever genetic differences exist predict cognitive performance without any need to take current environment into account.

You might think the above was written by Arthur Jensen, but it was written by Jensen’s most formidable opponent, James Flynn. It’s from pages 5 to 6 of Flynn’s book Does Your Family Make You Smarter?

Evidence in support of Flynn’s comments is a 2010 study by Haworth et al, where an astonishing 11000 pairs of twins from four different countries were intelligence tested. The results: heritability was 41% at age nine, 55% at age 12, and 66% by age 17.

66% is very similar to the WAIS IQ heritability found in the Minnesota study of twins reared apart, but Haworth et al compared the IQ correlation of MZ twins raised together with the correlation of DZ twins raised together (the classical twin study). If one assumes that both types of twins are equally similar in their environments (including prenatal), the greater IQ similarity found among MZ twins can only be explained by their greater genomic similarity. This is known as the equal environment assumption.

Critics claim that MZ twins raised together enjoy more similar environments than DZ twins raised together and so genes are getting undeserved credit for an environmental effect. However Arthur Jensen notes:

…some same-sex DZ twins look much more alike than others. In some cases their parents even wrongly believe that their DZ twins are identical twins, and they treat them as such by dressing them alike and giving them the same hairstyles and so on. But DZ twins whose parents and others had mistaken them for MZ twins are no more alike in IQ than other DZ twins or ordinary siblings who don’t look much alike.

Source: Intelligence, Race and Genetics by Frank Miele, pg 98

Indeed if people think MZ twins have more similar environments than DZ twins because they look identical, then it follows that same sex DZ twins should have more similar environments than opposite sex DZ twins because they too look more similar (and are treated more similarly) and yet the IQ correlation between same sex and opposite sex MZ twins are virtually identical.

Further support for the equal environment assumption comes from a study of 1,030 female-female twin pairs from the Virginia Twin Registry with known zygosity. About 15% of the twins disagreed with their actual zygosity, however perceived zygosity had no impact on the correlation between twins when it came to any of the five psychiatric disorders studied.

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