Studies on DNA and Intelligence Should be Watched Closely

I was reading something that lead to something that lead to something and I came across a research paper discussing a study on genes, cognitive performance, and educational attainment.

I immediately sensed red flags. I’m going to hope for the best, but there’s reason to be concerned.

I haven’t delved into this paper or the literature yet, but my impression was that the researchers attempted to determine how much genes and gene mutations can account for intelligence and success in school.

The potential problem with these types of studies is that educational attainment is affected by many other factors often external. In addition, many groups of people have historically and continually face discrimination when it comes to access to quality education and resources among other things.

Say, an ethnic group has historically faced barriers to completing primary education and receiving secondary education due to racism. These people are also more likely to have certain gene variants that are more prevalent in this group. One could then falsely conclude that these gene variants, which are prevalent in a specific ethnic group could explain why these people do not do as well academically as other ethnic groups.  

These studies and the interpretations are something worth keeping an eye on.

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