Do Preschoolers and Adults Think That Academic and Athletic Abilities are Inherited? A Pilot Study


  •  Lakshmi Raman    

Abstract

The following study examined if preschoolers and adults think that certain academic and athletic abilities are inherited or determined by the environment. Twenty-one preschoolers and 28 adults were presented with 9 switched-at-birth vignettes (math, reading, science, language, music, art, gymnastics, soccer and swimming) where in certain cases the birth parents were good at a task and in other situations the adoptive parents were good at a task. Participants had to decide if their child would resemble the birth parents or the adoptive parents in their abilities. The results suggest that overall there are no significant differences between preschoolers and adults reason in the way they reason about the role of inheritance in the area of academics, arts, and athletics. However, the one domain where there was a significant grade difference between preschoolers and adults was in the area of academics (math, reading and science) with adults attributing inheritance as being more responsible for abilities in this area. Overall these results suggest that there is no significant difference in the way preschoolers and adults reason about the inheritance of these abilities.



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