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Familial linkage between neuropsychiatric disorders and intellectual interests

Author(s): Campbell, Benjamin C; Wang, Samuel S-H

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Abstract: From personality to neuropsychiatric disorders, individual differences in brain function are known to have a strong heritable component. Here we report that between close relatives, a variety of neuropsychiatric disorders covary strongly with intellectual interests. We surveyed an entire class of high-functioning young adults at an elite university for prospective major, familial incidence of neuropsychiatric disorders, and demographic and attitudinal questions. Students aspiring to technical majors (science/mathematics/engineering) were more likely than other students to report a sibling with an autism spectrum disorder (p = 0.037). Conversely, students interested in the humanities were more likely to report a family member with major depressive disorder (p = 8.8×10(-4)), bipolar disorder (p = 0.027), or substance abuse problems (p = 1.9×10(-6)). A combined PREdisposition for Subject MattEr (PRESUME) score based on these disorders was strongly predictive of subject matter interests (p = 9.6×10(-8)). Our results suggest that shared genetic (and perhaps environmental) factors may both predispose for heritable neuropsychiatric disorders and influence the development of intellectual interests.
Publication Date: 26-Jan-2012
Citation: Campbell, Benjamin C, Wang, Samuel S-H. (Familial linkage between neuropsychiatric disorders and intellectual interests. PLoS One, 7 (e30405 - e30405). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030405
DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0030405
ISSN: 1932-6203
Pages: e30405 - e30405
Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: PLoS One
Version: Final published version. This is an open access article.

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