Despite common notion that the correlation of socioeconomic status with child cognitive performance may be driven by both environmentally– and genetically–mediated transactional pathways, there is a lack of longitudinal and genetically informed research that examines these postulated associations. The present study addresses whether family income predicts associative memory growth and hippocampal development in middle childhood and tests whether these associations persist when controlling for DNA–based polygenic scores of educational attainment. Participants were 142 6–to–7–year–old children, of which 127 returned when they were 8–to–9 years old. Longitudinal analyses indicated that the association of family income with children's memory performance and hippocampal volume remained stable over this age range and did not predict change. On average, children from economically disadvantaged background showed lower memory performance and had a smaller hippocampal volume. There was no evidence to suggest that differences in memory performance were mediated by differences in hippocampal volume. Further exploratory results suggested that the relationship of income with hippocampal volume and memory in middle childhood is not primarily driven by genetic variance captured by polygenic scores of educational attainment, despite the fact that polygenic scores significantly predicted family income.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cognitive Neuroscience