Science Says You Can Blame Your Genes And Parents If You Hated School

Universal Pictures

If the best part of your education was leaving school at the end of the day, you chalk it up to more than just a bad teacher or a hatred of waking up early.

A six-country-wide study of twins indicates enthusiasm for learning may be partially based in genetics, not just environmental factors.

Researcher Stephen Petrill and his 25 coauthors administered questionnaires to more than 13,000 twins from countries like the United States, Japan, Russia and Germany.

The participants, aged between 9 and 16, responded to prompts about their favorite classes and overall enjoyment of learning-related activities.

When identical twins' answers closely matched those of fraternal twins, the team knew they were onto something genetic.

Although Petrill originally hypothesized children would glean educational enthusiasm from factors like parental support, the differences he tracked between the twins showed 40 to 50 percent of the inclination to learn is due to genetics.

According to the study, a little under 50 percent of the remaining motivational impetus came from factors that differed between twins, like different friends or tutors. Only 3 percent of twins' education-related impulses were due to similar external factors like home environment.

Petrill believes his team's findings will better aid educators in helping their pupils learn efficiently.

In an Ohio State University press release, he said,

We should absolutely encourage students and motivate them in the classroom. But these findings suggest the mechanisms for how we do that may be more complicated than we had previously thought.

The complete study will be published in July's edition of Personality and Individual Differences.

Citations: Does your child hate school? Then it could be YOUR fault: Desire to learn is driven by our genes, study claims (Daily Mail)