Bio-ancestry, cognitive ability, and socioeconomic outcomes

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Description: In the US, self-identified race/ethnic (SIRE) groups are well known to differ on average in cognitive ability, socioeconomic status, and biogeographic ancestry (BGA), but the relations between these variables are unclear. Specifically, it is not known to what degree BGA is a useful predictor of outcomes independent of those cultural factors related to SIRE-identification. If differences are passed on in a genealogical fashion, tracking lines of descent, they are expected to be non-dependent on SIRE-identification in admixed populations. We used data from the Pediatric Imaging, Neurocognition, and Genetics Study (PING) (N = 1,369 children) to examine this issue. In regression models using 4 different codings for SIRE as a covariate, we found non-trivial incremental relationships (over and above SIRE) between biogeographic ancestry and both cognitive and SES outcomes, especially for African and Amerindian ancestry. These relationships were reduced somewhat when parental SES was added as a predictor with cognitive ability as the outcome. These associations also held when subgroups were analyzed separately. Results were congruent with genealogical models of group differences in cognitive ability and socioeconomic status. Implications for research on race/ethnic differences in the Americas are discussed.


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  • Bio-ancestry, cognitive ability, and socioeconomic outcomes

    In the United States, cognitive ability, socioeconomic status (SES), and genetic ancestry vary by race/ethnic identification. However, it is not known...

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