Heritability In a group of people, a particular psychological trait, such as intelligence, usually varies a lot. Differences in groups may be due to genes or the environment, and researchers use a statistic called heritability to see which has the largest influence. Heritability is a mathematical estimate that indicates how much of a trait’s variation can be attributed to genes. There are three important principles of heritability: • Heritability estimates don’t reveal anything about how much genes influence a person’s traits. These figures tell us only to what extent trait differences between people can be attributed to genes. • Heritability depends on the similarity of the environment for a group of people. In a group of people who share similar environments, heritability of a particular trait may be high. However, that same trait may have low heritability in a group of people who operate in different environments. • Even if a trait is highly heritable, it can still be influenced by environmental
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