What is driving the relationship between height and cognition? Evidence from the Twins Early Development Study

Vikesh Amin, Jason M. Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Taller children tend to have better cognitive ability, and the relationship between height and cognition has been proposed as an explanation for the height-wage labor market premium. Height-cognition associations may arise due to social factors that favor taller individuals or be driven by “common factors” that are correlated with height and cognition. Indeed, there is now evidence of a genetic correlation between height and cognition that provides specific evidence for this concern. We examine whether genetic factors explain the relationship by estimating associations between childhood height and cognition in the Twins Early Development Study. We find that height is associated with better cognition even after controlling for genetic and environmental factors shared by twins. The association between height and cognition within fraternal twin pairs is also robust to controlling for individual genetic predictors of height and cognition. These results suggest that genetic factors are not solely responsible for driving the relationship between height and cognition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101174
JournalEconomics and Human Biology
Volume47
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Height
  • Polygenic Scores
  • Twins

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