Genes account for half of differences in social mobility - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14825433
If these results are true, we should, after an initial increase, expect social mobility to go down over time, as societies become and stay more meritocratic (where I use meritocratic to mean that environmental factors become and stay more equal). It should then settle at a lower level than currently assumed for policy purposes, which as far as I can tell basically ignores genetic factors altogether.

There is also a video at the link.

phys.org wrote:
Genes account for half of differences in social mobility

A new King's College London study suggests that genes account for nearly 50 per cent of the differences between whether children are socially mobile or not.

One of the best predictors of children's educational attainment is their parents' educational level and in the past this association was thought to be environmental, rather than influenced by genes.

Parents with higher levels of educational achievement, for example, are thought to access greater academic and social resources, enabling them to pass on better opportunities for their children than less educated parents.

This new King's study, published today in Psychological Science, is the first to find substantial genetic influence on children's social mobility, which could have important implications for reducing educational inequality.

Using a sample of more than 6,000 twin families from the Medical Research Council (MRC) funded Twins Early Development Study, the researchers measured genetic influence on four categories of social mobility:

Downwardly mobile: children who did not complete A-Levels but were raised in families with a university-educated parent;
Upwardly mobile: children who completed A-Levels but their parent did not attend university;
Stably educated: children who completed A-levels and were raised in families with a university-educated parent
Stably uneducated: children who did not complete A-Levels and whose parents did not attend university

The researchers also used an alternative method to study genetic influences on social mobility that focuses on people's DNA markers for educational achievement, so-called genome-wide polygenic scores (GPS).

They found that children with higher polygenic scores completed A-levels, even if they had come from families where no parent had gone to university. The highest polygenic scores were found for families that were 'stably educated", the lowest scores for those who were 'stably uneducated", and results fell in the middle for downwardly and upwardly mobile families.

Ziada Ayorech, first author of the study from the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London, said: "The role of parent's education in their children's educational outcomes has previously been thought of as environmental, but our study suggests a strong genetic component too. These results show that half of the differences between whether families were socially mobile or not, can be attributed to genetic differences between them.

"This tells us that if we want to reduce educational inequalities, it's important to understand children's genetic propensity for educational achievement. That way, we can better identify those who require more support."

Dr Sophie von Stumm, senior author and a Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths University of London, added: "Finding genetic influences on social mobility can be viewed as an index of equality, rather than inequality. The reason is that genetics can only play a significant role for children's educational attainment if their environmental opportunities are relatively equal."

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#14825437
Wow! I am surprised it even got published. The media will have a field day trashing it. Too many people will be unwilling to accept it even if it is true. It definitely needs serious review.
#14825440
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Figure 1. Correlations between 13 genome-wide polygenic scores and 50 traits from the behavioral phenome. These results are based on GPS constructed using a GWAS P-value threshold (PT)=0.30; results for PT =0.10 and 0.05 (Supplementary Figures 1a and b and Supplementary Table 3). P-values that pass Nyholt–Sidak correction (see Supplementary Methods 1) are indicated with two asterisks, whereas those reaching nominal significance (thus suggestive evidence) are shown with a single asterisk.

GPS correlate with the behavioral phenome
Figure 1 summarizes correlations between the 50 traits of the behavioral phenome and the 13 GPS for PT=0.30. Correlation coefficients, s.e., P-value thresholds (PT), and number of SNPs included are shown in Supplementary Table 3 for the fixed PT (0.30; 0.10; 0.05). Very similar patterns of association emerged from both the conventional fixed PT analyses and the high-resolution analyses that estimate the PT flexibly for the ‘best-fit’ GPS (Supplementary Figure 2 and Supplementary Table 4). Both methods yielded statistically significant phenomic associations only for the GPS for College and Child IQ.

College GPS College GPS, which was based on the binary measure of attending college or not, showed the strongest phenomic profile at age 16, which might reflect the fact that its meta-analytic GWAS sample size was one of the largest (N=120 000; Rietveld et al.18). College GPS correlated significantly with academic performance at age 16: General Certificate of Secondary Examination (GCSE) English (r =0.15), GCSE mathematics (r =0.15, s.e. 0.02) and GCSE science (r =0.14, s.e. 0.02).39 College GPS also correlated significantly with general cognitive ability (‘g’) (r=0.14, s.e. 0.03) as well as its subscales Ravens Matrices (r=0.12, s.e. 0.03) and with Mill Hill Vocabulary (r=0.09, s.e. 0.03), which confirms a similar finding for adults.40 College GPS also correlated positively with PISA math interest (r=0.10, s.e. 0.03) and math self-efficacy (r=0.12, s.e. 0.03). Negative associations for College GPS emerged for SDQ total behavior problems (r=−0.07, s.e. 0.02) and SDQ Conduct (r=−0.08, s.e. 0.02).

Psychiatric GPS In contrast, the five psychiatric GPS yielded no significant correlations that passed multiple comparisons corrections across the behavioral phenome. Nominally significant associations included a positive correlation between Alzheimer’s GPS and Conner’s Impulsivity; and positive associations between Autism Spectrum Disorder GPS and Autism Quotient: Attention Switching. Autism Spectrum Disorder GPS yielded nominally significant negative associations with Chaos at home, Attachment and Height. Schizophrenia GPS correlated positively with GCSE English and negatively with Autism Quotient: Attention to Detail. Bipolar disorder GPS correlated negatively with Autism Quotient: Attention to Detail.

One likely explanation for the lower phenomic profile of psychiatric GPS compared with that of College GPS is the difference in sample sizes for the discovery samples. However, Child IQ GPS yielded significant associations despite the relatively smaller sample size of the GWAS (N=9616). This might point to the importance of developmental proximity or similarity of the phenotypes in discovery and target sample. It also emphasizes that predictive power is not only a function of sample size of the discovery sample.5 Phenotypic similarity between the traits in the discovery sample and the target sample is a proxy for the magnitude of genetic covariance between the traits.

http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/v21/n9 ... 5126a.html


This paper was published in Molecular Psychiatry (2016; 21:1188–1193) and the team is not a groups of geneticists who are familiar with human genetics. Genome-wide polygenic scores (GPS) they invented doesn't correspond directly with specific SNPs as Figure 1 shows. Psychiatrists are those who specialize in mental health and they controversially believe that homosexuality can be cured.
#14825442
I'm somewhat skeptical. Educational attainment is such a complex social thing that's influenced by so many personality traits and social stuff that I find the idea of trying to do genetic analysis of it to be rather...ambitious in scope. More ambitious than trying to research intelligence broadly even.

I'd like to see studies on the more basic personality traits that coorespond to educational achievement on a genetic level.
#14825464
Think this is the paper
The Genetics of Success: How SingleNucleotide Polymorphisms Associated With Educational Attainment Relate to Life-Course Development
A previous genome-wide association study (GWAS) of more than 100,000 individuals identified molecular-genetic predictors of educational attainment. We undertook in-depth life-course investigation of the polygenic score derived from this GWAS using the four-decade Dunedin Study (N = 918). There were five main findings. First, polygenic scores predicted adult economic outcomes even after accounting for educational attainments. Second, genes and environments were correlated: Children with higher polygenic scores were born into better-off homes. Third, children’s polygenic scores predicted their adult outcomes even when analyses accounted for their social-class origins; social-mobility analysis showed that children with higher polygenic scores were more upwardly mobile than children with lower scores. Fourth, polygenic scores predicted behavior across the life course, from early acquisition of speech and reading skills through geographic mobility and mate choice and on to financial planning for retirement. Fifth, polygenic-score associations were mediated by psychological characteristics, including intelligence, self-control, and interpersonal skill. Effect sizes were small. Factors connecting DNA sequence with life outcomes may provide targets for interventions to promote population-wide positive development.
#14825470
I do not understand why there is this drive for "social mobility", what end are these kind of people are trying to reach? We will always need labourers as much as doctors, leaders as much as followers, cleaners as much as lawyers. In this world we will always have classes of masters and servants, this is just the way of the world. Who knows exactly why god/nature/universe makes one servant and one master.

This whole progressive drive of trying to make everyone "social mobile" is unrealistic, what does it even mean? So everyone can be rich? It is unreal. I see that it is fair to give everyone an opportunity a shot to make the best of their merit and talent, that is essentially what liberalism is all about. I think America has successfully have come very close to achieving this for their society, especially in 19th century and early 20th. But this modern strive for social mobility I believe is unrealistic.
#14825502
Good points @Albert
I had this discussion with a highly intelligent person who believed we really could educate everyone to a level of a college degree in the US and not worry about losing factory and menial jobs.
My response was, even if that were possible (and it is not), what about the people who don't want to work those kinds of jobs. What about the people who are happier digging ditches than working at a computer. Should we not supply jobs based upon what makes people happy too. Who cares if I am genetically capable of getting a doctorate if I have found true happiness raising fruit for my fruit stand?
#14825506
50% is probably an underestimate given that IQ appears to be over 80% heritable.

And Gregory Clark in his work has found a level of social mobility of around one-fifth going back a thousand years in nearly every society he's studied bar India (which has clos to zero social mobility :lol:).

Not that actual evidence will change the left's view on this subject. They are religious fanatics.
#14825576
Social mobility is a right wing con. Living standards for working class people have collapsed in the past few decades and instead of doing anything about it people talk about improving social mobility. As if anyone cares weather 5% of 10% percent of people manage to betray their class and move up, the important thing is improving living standards for working class people as a whole.

It is really a victory if you push up social mobility (relevant to a tiny number of working class people) but living standards decline for the vast majority of working class people who stay working class? From down here that looks like a defeat for the working class but instead it is pushed as a situation to aspire to.

Fuck that, being working class is not a disease to be cured, we don't want it to be made easier for us to escape our family, our friends and our neighbourhoods, we want our class to become more prosperous as a whole, we want landlords crushed, wages to rise and fewer of us to die at work.

If people talked about curing racism by making skin whitening available on the NHS people would be up in arms but people talk about helping working class people by trying to stop them being working class with no opposition at all, hatred of us is the last acceptably bigotry.

Working for a living is not a disease to be cured. We are necessary, who do you think goes out and produces all the wealth in the world while the rich sit at chairs in their offices tugging themselves off and playing online poker? It does not appear by magic.
#14825672
@Decky,

I agree with Decky.

No matter what kind of society you have, social mobility is always going to be limited because all human traits are heritable. Even in the People's Republic of China 84% of the members of the upper class are direct descendants from the pre-1949 upper class! :eek:

People are in a certain class for a reason.

Praising "meritocracy" and "social mobility" serve to praise the upper classes as being intrinsically more virtuous than the lower classes, because after all they got there purely by hard work and merit! Certainly genes, family background, and luck had nothing to do with it. Meanwhile the working classes must be scum since they didn't take advantage of the opportunities available to them. :lol:

I mean can't anyone be born into a rich family with a 130 IQ, attend an elite prep school and captain the lacrosse team, and then graduate from Princeton and get a job at Goldman Sachs? :eh:

Comparison for Decky since he does not understand America and views us a strange land of barbarians and monsters:

-Be born with a Norman surname and have eminent ancestors going back to the Norman Conquest
-Grow up in central London or similar location
-Attend a "public school"
-Attend Oxbridge
-Get a job as a merchant banker in the City or as a solicitor in the Magic Circle
-Talk about how all your hard work and grit allowed you to "rise" to this position :lol:

This sort of thing can be found in any society you care to look at and it doesn't matter what its social structure, economy, or government is like. In Sweden it means having a latinized surname, growing up in Oestermalm, etc.

There is nothing wrong with being working class, and most working class people are decent salt of the Earth chaps who have been mercilessly [email protected]#$ed over in the past generation.
#14825814
I mean can't anyone be born into a rich family with a 130 IQ, attend an elite prep school and captain the lacrosse team, and then graduate from Princeton and get a job at Goldman Sachs?


Well. 130 IQs are very rare to say the least. But your point is correct. The deck is stacked in favor of those who take opportunity for granted. That Goldman Saachs job would go to the same dude if he had a 98 IQ.
#14825815
@Drlee,
130 IQ is two standard deviations above the white average, which means that about 5% of the white population has IQs 130 or above. Fraction would be slightly higher for Asians, considerably lower for all other racial groups.

And no, there are no bankers at Goldman with double-digit IQs. Maybe at Morgan Stanley. :excited:

There's plenty of back scratching in banking hiring (hence the Wall Street lacrosse mafia), but they don't hire average people unless said average person comes from a family with a nine figure plus net worth (not too many of those from nine figure families).

You'll find some people of slightly above average intelligence in the sales departments of banks, but not too many.
#14825846
I just came back from a week with the top 2%. Must have been up to my ass in bankers, unawares.
#14825984
I am not interested in 'social mobility' and genetics, but I would be interested if anyone is aware of similar studies concerning 'moral reasoning' and genetics, or studies showing if there is a connection between IQ and moral reasoning. I find high moral reasoning to be more important than IQ in the success of our society and I have met people who appear to have not very high IQ but very high levels of moral reasoning.
#14825995
Psychologists publishing a genetics paper and right coming out to proclaim it a gospel while claiming that left is fanatical and would never accept it, are we teaching irony today? :lol:

Still don't care about IQ, this whole concept of IQ itself is under lens and we are far far to go before settling the nature/nurture debate in any meaningful way, making any policy decisions on the basis of IQ would be so dumb that only people with less than 60 IQ points will support it. ;)

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