Genetic, Environmental, and Gender Effects on Individual Differences in Toddler Expressive Language

Van Hulle, Carol A.; Goldsmith, H. H.; Lemery, Kathryn S.
August 2004
Journal of Speech, Language & Hearing Research;Aug2004, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p904
Academic Journal
In this article, the authors examined the genetic and environmental factors influencing expressive language development in a sample of 386 toddler twin pairs participating in the Wisconsin Twin Project. Expressive language was assessed using 2 measures from the MacArthur Communicative Development Inventories-Short Form: Total Vocabulary and Two-Word Combination Use (L. Fenson et al., 2000). A sex-limitation structural equation model estimated the contribution of genetics, shared environment, and nonshared environment to individual variation. For vocabulary, heritability was higher for boys than for girls (20% vs. 8%). For word combination use, heritability was higher for girls (28% vs. 10%). However, the majority of individual variation in both boys and girls could be attributed to shared environment (54%-78%).


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