The GLP is committed to full transparency. Download and review our 2019 Annual Report

Twin studies suggest our genes heavily influence how children ‘gaze’ and view interactions

| | January 9, 2018
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

The way children view both social and nonsocial situations may be determined at least in part by their genes, a new study of identical and fraternal twins suggests.

Identical twins tend to look at the same parts of pictures, whether they depict children playing or an object, such as a musical instrument. Fraternal twins also show viewing patterns that are similar, but less so than identical twins. The gaze patterns of unrelated children are even less alike.

[Researcher Dan] Kennedy and his colleagues used eye-tracking technology to monitor the gaze of 119 identical and 114 fraternal same-sex twin pairs. The children watched as photographs of social scenes such as children playing, and of objects such as road signs, appeared for three seconds on a screen. The team then created a ‘heat map’ from the eye-tracking data that charts the parts of each photo that caught the children’s attention.

The viewing patterns are most similar among identical twins. On a scale of 0 to 1, with 1 indicating exactly the same patterns, identical twin pairs scored an average of 0.6. Fraternal twins are also close, with a score of 0.56, and pairs of unrelated children had an average score of 0.54. Although these numbers seem similar, the differences are statistically significant.

Kennedy says his next step is to study how individual differences in eye movements relate to differences in behavior and cognition.

Read full, original post: Genetics governs children’s gaze patterns, twin study finds

News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.

Send this to a friend