adoption study

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In behaviour genetics, an investigation of the correlations between adopted children and either their natural parents or their adoptive parents (or both) on a measurable trait in order to estimate the heritability of that trait, the assumption being that the higher the heritability of the trait, the greater will be the correlation with natural parents, and the lower the heritability the greater will be the correlation with adoptive parents. Since the late 1970s some adoption studies have examined correlations between natural and adoptive siblings within the same households, the assumption being that if the heritability of the trait is high, then the natural children's scores will correlate more highly with those of other natural children, who share half their genes, than with the scores of the adoptive children to whom they are not genetically related, whereas if heritability is low, the reverse should hold. Compare kinship study, twin study.

Subjects: Psychology.

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