Genetic and environmental influences on executive functions and intelligence in the ABCD Study



Preprint: Executive functions (EFs) and intelligence (IQ) are phenotypically correlated and heritable; however, they show variable genetic correlations in twin studies spanning childhood to middle age. We analyzed data from over 11,000 children (9-10-year-olds, including 749 twin pairs) in the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) Study to examine the phenotypic and genetic relations between EFs and IQ in childhood. We identified two EF factors – Common EF and Updating-Specific, which were both related to IQ (rs = .64-.81). Common EF and IQ were heritable (53-67%), and their genetic correlation (rG = .86) was not significantly different than 1. These results suggest that EFs and IQ are phenotypically but not genetically separable in middle childhood.