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Tatyana Tikhomirova 1, Sergey Malykh 1, Yuliya Kovas 1
  • 1 National Research Tomsk State University, 36 Lenina Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation

Individual Differences in Learning Capabilities: Opportunities and Prospects of Behavioral Genetic Research

2012. No. 4. P. 186–199 [issue contents]

Sergey Malykh, D.Sc. in Psychology, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, leading researcher at the Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioral Genetics, National Research Tomsk State University. Email: malykhsb@mail.ru
Address: 36 Lenina Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation.

Tatyana Tikhomirova, Ph.D. in Psychology, senior researcher at the Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioral Genetics, National Research Tomsk State University. Email: tikho@mail.ru
Address: 36 Lenina Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation.

Yuliya Kovas, Ph.D., Head of the Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioral Genetics, National Research Tomsk State University, Head of the International Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Investigations into Individual Differences in Learning, Goldsmiths College, University of London. Email: y.kovas@gold.ac.uk
Address: 36 Lenina Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russian Federation.

This article emphasizes the significance of scientific and experimental research in studying the nature of individual differences, i.e. in discovering why students differ in cognitive, personal and motivational characteristics in a relatively uniform educational environment. Individual differences in cognitive and learning capabilities are formed in the course of complex genotype-environment interaction. In order to solve the major educational problem, i.e. to raise the overall level of academic performance by means of individually tailored teaching methods, the authors suggest using genetically sensitive methods to study mechanisms which underlie individual differences in learning capabilities in different subject fields.

Special attention is paid to the twin study method that allows for a detailed research into cognitive development, learning capabilities and disabilities. An important feature of the twin study methods is that it provides the best possible evidence for the influence of environmental factors, including those of educational environment. The twin study method allows to specify the role of common and individual environment, i.e. conditions increasing similarities or differences between twins in certain qualities respectively.

The Russian School Twin Registry has been developed since 2012 to provide a unique database for Russian and foreign researchers and a source of theoretical and practical knowledge for teachers, psychologists, parents and students themselves. 

Citation: Tikhomirova T., Malykh S., Kovas Y. (2012) Individual'nye razlichiya v sposobnostyakh k obucheniyu: vozmozhnosti i perspektivy psikhogeneticheskikh issledovaniy [Individual Differences in Learning Capabilities: Opportunities and Prospects of Behavioral Genetic Research]. Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, no4, pp. 186-199.
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