Memory, Attention and Problem Solving in Adolescent Twins
Study Code:TM
Sample:600+ twins
Start Date:Jun.1996
Status:Completed
Contact:Margie Wright
More Info:QIMR only



 

About MAPS

MAPS stands for Memory, Attention and Problem Solving. The study is measuring some of these key components of cognition in order to identify the many combinations of genes influencing mental functioning. It is a collaborative study between the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) and the University of Queensland (UQ) and was initiated by Nick Martin (QIMR), a behavioural geneticist, and collaborators Gina Geffen, Glen Smith, Laurie Geffen and Margie Wright in 1996.
Despite the wealth of evidence for a substantial genetic influence on intellectual functioning very little is known about the specific genes and how they influence biological processes. To advance understanding of the genetic basis of cognition we are using specially developed tasks that assess how information is processed. Measures from these tasks can more readily be attributed to basic components of brain function, and have the potential to explain at the psychological or physiological level how differences in intellectual functioning occur. Several key elements of cognition are measured and brain activity is measured by electrophysiological techniques (electroencephalogram (EEG) and event-related potentials (ERPs)). Specifically the MAPS study is examining the heritabilities of individual differences in information processing (IP) and working memory (WM) and the extent to which the phenotypic correlation between psychometric IQ, IP and WM is determined by underlying genetic factors.

The study uses the twin design to quantify the contribution of genes and the environment influencing the various components of cognition we are measuring. This design uses the difference in genetic likeness of MZ and DZ twins to quantify the contribution of genes and the environment to a particular trait. Over a six year period (1996 -2001) we will test 600 plus twin pairs (half identical (monozygotic (MZ)), half non-identical (dizygotic (DZ))) aged 16 years + 6 months. A high density genome scan (i.e. 370 markers, average distance between markers = 10cM) will be performed by the Australian Genome Research Facility (AGRF), and using these markers it will be possible to locate those DNA regions containing genes for cognitive functioning.

Our progress so far:

In the first three and a half years we have designed an efficient and highly informative protocol which takes 3-3 1/2 hours, and have tested >350 twin pairs. In addition we have re-tested 50 pairs in order to assess the test-retest reliability of our measures, and 80 siblings (aged 16-18yrs) of twins have been tested as these can be treated similarly to DZ pairs providing an appropriate adjustment is made for any age differences. In the next 2 1/2 years we hope to test a further 250 pairs to ensure genetic linkage and association analysis to detect major genes for cognition are a realistic possibility. We are currently analysing the large amount of data using multivariate analyses to fit genetic and environmental hypotheses about the causes of individual differences, and are examining the test-retest reliability of our measures.

Back to top


RESEARCHERS

 

Professor Gina Geffen

E-mail

Professor Laurie Geffen

E-mail

Professor Nick Martin

E-mail

Assoc. Professor Glen Smith

E-mail

Dr. Margie Wright

E-mail

 

 

RESEARCH NURSES

 

Sister Marlene Grace

E-mail

Sister Ann Eldridge

E-mail

 

 

RESEARCH ASSISTANTS

 

Dr Michelle Luciano

E-mail

Dr Narelle Hansell

E-mail

 

 

PHD STUDENTS

 

Mark Wainwright

E-mail

Sarah Medland

E-mail

Back to top


Funding

This project is supported by local, national and international funding from the:

         Back to top

 


International collaboration

In November 1996 collaboration was initiated with Professor Dorret Boomsma and Dr. Eco de Geus at the Free University, Amsterdam. In 1997 this was expanded to a tri-country collaboration with Dr. Juko Ando at Keio University, Tokyo and an application to the Human Frontiers Science Program (HFSP) was made and was successful. The international collaboration is based around the use of similar biological measures by the three teams to investigate the genetic basis of cognition.

UQ news article Free University Keio University Human Frontiers Science Project

QIMRlogo

Freelogo

Keiologo


Publications

Wright, M. J., Hansell, N. K., Luciano, M., Geffen, G. M., Smith, G. A., Geffen, L. B. and Martin, N. G., (1998), Genetics of working memory: a twin study. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Australasian Society for Biological Psychiatry. Brisbane, Australia

Hansell, N., Wright, M., Geffen, G., Geffen, L., Smith, G. and Martin, N., (1998), The genetics of visuo-spatial working memory: A twin study. Australasian psychophysiology conference. Brisbsane, Australia

Wright, M., Hansell, N., Geffen, G., Geffen, L., Smith, G. and Martin, N., (1999), Genetic influence on the variance in ERP measures of working memory: a twin study. 9th Biennal meeting of the International Society for the study of Individual Differences. Vancouver, Canada

Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N., (1999), Is there an association between 'normal' cognitive functioning and tri-nucleotide repeat expansion at loci involved in neurodegenerative disorders? Presented at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Behavior Genetics Association. Vancouver, Canada

Martin, N., Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G. and Geffen, L., (2000), Finding genes for cognition: the ultimate reduction. Annual Australian Experimental Psychology Conference. Twin waters, Australia

Wright, M., Hansell, N., Geffen, G., Smith, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N., (2000), Genetic influence on the variance in P3 amplitude and latency. BGA. Vermont

Wright, M., Hansell, N., Luciano, M., Geffen, G., Smith, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N., (2001), Genes for cognition. Queensland Institute of Medical Research Inaugural Scientific Conference. Couran Cove, QLD

Wright, M. J., Luciano, M., Hansell, N. K., Geffen, G. M., Geffen, L. B., Smith, G. A. and Martin, N. G., (2001), Genetic variation in ERP correlates of cognition is a source of individual differences in performance. Spearman 2001 Extending Intelligence: Enhancement & New Constructs. Sydney, Australia

Hansell, N. K., Wright, M. J., Geffen, G. M., Geffen, L. B., Smith, G. A. and Martin, N. G., (2001), Genetic influence on ERP slow wave measures of working memory. It runs in the family: twins and families in biomedical and behavioural research. Melbourne, Australia

Luciano, M., Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N., (2001), Heritability of measures from elemetary cognitive tasks and their relationship with IQ: a twin study. It runs in the family: twins and families in biomedical and behavioural research. Melbourne, Australia

Luciano, M., Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N., (2001), Approaching the Genetics of Intelligence through Processing Speed and Working Memory Constructs. The third international spearman seminar. Sydney, Australia

Hansell, N. K., Wright, M. J., Geffen, G. M., Geffen, L. B., Smith, G. A. and Martin, N. G., (2001), Genetic influence on ERP slow wave measures of working memory. HFSP Research Grants Awardee Annual Meeting. Turin, Italy

Luciano, M., Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N., (2001), Inspection time, choice reaction time and IQ: Are they influenced by the same genes? 1st Australian personality and individual differences conference. Wooloongong, NSW

Hansell, N. K., Wright, M. J., Geffen, G. M., Geffen, L. B., Smith, G. A. and Martin, N. G., (2002), Genetic co-variation among ERP and performance measures of a working-memory-delayed-response task, information processing and psychometric IQ. 42nd Anual meeting of the society of psychophysiological research. Washington DC USA

Hansell, N., Wright, M., Geffen, G., Geffen, L., Smith, G. and Martin, N. (2000) Reliability and stability of P3 and slow wave elicited in a working memory task. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 31, 14.

Hansell, N., Wright, M., Geffen, G., Geffen, L., Smith, G. and Martin, N., (2000), Genetic influences on ERP slow wave measures of working memory in adolescent twins. 30th annual meeeting of the behavioral genetics association. Burlington, Vermont

Wright, M., Hansell, N., Geffen, G., Geffen, L., Smith, G. and Martin, N. (2000) ERP phenotypes in a genetic study of working memory. Psychophysiology, 37 (suppl 1), S14.

de Geus, E. J., Wright, M. J., Martin, N. G. and Boomsma, D. I. (2001) Genetics of brain function and cognition. Behavior Genetics, 31, 489-495.

Hansell, N., Wright, M., Geffen, G., Geffen, L., Smith, G. and Martin, N. (2001) Genetic influence on ERP slow wave measures of working memory. Behavior Genetics, 31, 603-614.

Luciano, M., Smith, G., Wright, M., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N. (2001) On the heritability of inspection time and its covariance with IQ: A twin study. Intelligence, 29, 443-457.

Luciano, M., Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N. (2001) Genetic influence among processing speed, working memory and IQ. Behavior Genetics, 31, 581-592.

Luciano, M., Smith, G., Wright, M., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N. (2001) Genetic influence on the relationship between choice reaction time and IQ: a twin study. Foreign Psychology, 14, 49-59.

Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N. (2001) Variance in coinciding timing influenced by genetic factors: a twin study. Intelligence, 28, 239-250.

Wright, M., Hansell, N., Geffen, G., Geffen, L., Smith, G. and Martin, N. (2001) Genetic influence on the variance in P3 amplitude and latency. Behavior Genetics, 31, 555-565.

Wright, M., de Geus, E., Ando, J., Luciano, M., Posthuma, D., Ono, Y., Hansell, N., Van Baal, C., Hiraishi, K., Hasegawa, T., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Kanba S, M. A., Martin N, Boomsma D (2001) Genetics of cognition:outline of a collaborative twin study.Twin Research, 4, 48-56.

Luciano, M., Wright, M., Smith, G., Geffen, G., Geffen, L. and Martin, N. (2001) Genetic Covariance between Processing Speed and IQ. In Behavior genetics in a postgenomic world (Eds. Plomin, R., DeFries, J., McGuffin, P. and Craig, I.), APA Books,
 


Participants

Form for participants to update personal information
Information and form for twins or triplets interested in becoming a participant
Australian Twin Registry

Back to top


Links

Australian Twin Registry
Behavior Genetics Association
Cognitive Psychophysiology Laboratory
Free University
Keio University
MX Home page
QIMR - Genetic Epidemiology
QIMR - How to get there
UQ Psychology Home page
Genetics and General Cognitive Ability

Back to top


Acknowledgements

Participants
Australian Twin Registry
Qld Education Department
South East Queensland Secondary Schools