Accessibility statement

Educational success beyond cognitive ability: A genetic perspective

Wednesday 20 May 2020, 12.00PM to 1.00 pm

Speaker(s): Dr Margherita Malanchini, Department of Psychology, School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London

Cognitive ability and educational success predict positive outcomes across the lifespan, from higher earnings to better health and longevity. The shared positive outcomes associated with cognitive ability and education are emblematic of the strong interconnections between them. Part of the observed associations between cognitive ability and educational success, as well as their links with wealth, morbidity and mortality, are rooted in genetic variation. Importantly, the genetic basis of their association is amplified by environmental experiences.

However, the stability and heritability of educational success are not driven entirely by cognitive ability. Other educationally relevant ‘noncognitive’ characteristics (attitudes, aptitudes and appetites for learning) significantly contribute to educational success and its genetics. In this talk, I will present evidence for the importance of considering noncognitive characteristics when studying educational success and its genetic and environmental underpinnings over development. I will discuss how a holistic view of education, one that takes into account cognitive and noncognitive skills and their biological and environmental underpinnings, is a fundamental step for moving towards a comprehensive, evidence-based model of education.