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Normal language development was studied in 310 pairs of 4-year-old twins born in the United Kingdom in 1994. Twins were assessed individually in their homes on a diverse battery of language and nonverbal measures. Rotated factor analyses indicated the presence of a general Language factor (L) as well as a general Nonverbal (NV) factor. Moderate genetic influence was found for both L and NV abilities. Bivariate genetic analysis estimated a genetic correlation of .63 between L and NV abilities, implying that over half of the genetic influence on L overlaps with genetic influence on NV. These results suggest that at age 4, genetic influences on individual differences in language overlap substantially with genetic influences on individual differences in other cognitive abilities, although perhaps less so than later in development.


Journal article


Dev Psychol

Publication Date





749 - 757


Child Language, Child, Preschool, Environment, Factor Analysis, Statistical, Female, Humans, Individuality, Language Development, Language Tests, Male, Multivariate Analysis, Nonverbal Communication, Phenotype, Sex Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Twins, United Kingdom