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School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Quan Zhou

PhD Student

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Project Title: Gene-environment interplay in the development of education related noncognitive skills

Summary: Academic achievement during childhood and adolescence is associated with a host of positive life outcomes, from higher socioeconomic status to physical health and wellbeing (Malanchini et al., 2020). Within neighborhoods, schools and even classrooms, students differ widely in their academic achievement (Smith-Woolley et al., 2018). Studies have shown that part of these difference between students in academic achievement are accounted for by genetic differences between them, with evidence pointing to the substantial heritability (~70%) and genetic stability of academic achievement throughout compulsory education (Rimfeld, Malanchini, Krapohl, Hannigan, Dale, & Plomin, 2018).

However, these genetic influences on academic achievement are not independent of environmental processes. Genotypes correlate and interact with environmental processes and are conceived as having the potential to allow for a range of phenotypic outcomes across different environmental conditions (Meaney, 2016). This PhD project will investigate the interplay between genetic and environmental factors specifically focusing on the development of education related noncognitive skills, such as motivation, attitudes and goals. The project will feature the following four studies:

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