In this study aspects of selective attention and working memory were tested in a large sample of nearly 6-year old monozygotic and dizygotic twin pairs, using a computerized test battery (Amsterdam Neuropsychological tasks). In the selective attention task the presence of a foil signal (target signal at an irrelevant location) resulted in more false alarms than a non-target signal. In the working memory task an increase in memory load lead to an increase in response times and errors. We analyzed variations in absolute performance parameters (overall speed and accuracy) and relative performance parameters (increase in errors and/or reaction time). The results showed clear familial resemblances on performance. It proved difficult to ascribe these effects to shared genes or to shared environment. An exception was memory search rate, which was clearly heritable.

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Behavior Genetics
Pediatric Psychiatry

Stins, J., de Sonneville, L., Groot, A., Polderman, T., van Baal, C., & Boomsma, D. (2005). Heritability of selective attention and working memory in preschoolers. Behavior Genetics, 35(4), 407–416. doi:10.1007/s10519-004-3875-3