General causal models for sex differences in the familial transmission of multifactorial traits: An application to human spatial visualizing ability

J. Rice, R. Cloninger, T. Reich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Scopus citations

Abstract

A general multifactorial model is given for the inheritance of traits that exhibit a sexual dimorphism. The model allows for polygenic inheritance, cultural transmission, phenotypic assortative mating, and a common environment of rearing. Several cultural mechanisms are described for which transmission from parent to offspring is sex-dependent and for which many different patterns of sex-specific correlations can result. A special case of the general model is described in which phenotypic differences between males and females are due only to differences in nontransmissible environmental factors and/or genetic factors that do not contribute to variability within a sex. Application of these models to human spatial visualizing ability, using data reported by others, gives an estimate of 45 per cent for the proportion of the variance that is accounted for by transmissible factors. Neither an X-linked hypothesis nor a sex-specific cultural mechanism is required to explain the transmission of spatial ability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalSocial biology
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

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