Skip to main content
School of Biological and Behavioural Sciences

Wangjingyi Liao



Project Title: From genotype to phenotype: the role of environmental influences on cognitive development


Aim 1: Cognitive development: Understanding the pathways from genotype to phenotype.

Cognitive abilities, such as the abilities to plan, learn, and solve problems, are associated with many positive life outcomes, from educational success to socioeconomic attainment, physical and mental health. It is therefore essential to understand which social and biological factors support cognitive development.

Research has shown that cognitive abilities are heritable, which means that differences between individuals at the genetic level contribute to observed differences in cognitive abilities. However, these genetic influences on cognitive abilities are not independent of environmental factors. In line with this proposition, developmental experiences have been found to play a role in shaping genetic effects on cognitive skills, which grow substantially from childhood to adulthood. It follows that cognitive development is shaped by a complex interplay between biological and environmental factors. However, the environmental influences that combine with biological processes to result in cognitive abilities over development have not been systematically investigated.

This first aim will investigate the specific environmental experiences that combine with genetic factors to result in differences between individuals in cognitive skills over development. The first two projects will investigate which environmental experiences combine with genetic disposition for cognitive abilities to result in the expression of cognitive abilities from childhood to early adulthood.



Back to top