Edinburgh Psychology Keynote Talk
Speaker: Professor Gregory Clark (University of California, Davis)
Title: Genetics and Social Life: England, 1600-2022
Abstract: A lineage of 422,433 English people 1600-2022 contains correlations in social outcomes among relatives as distant as 4th cousins. These correlations show striking patterns. First is the strong persistence of social status across family trees. Correlations decline by a factor of only 0.8 across each generation. Even fourth cousins, with a common ancestor only five generations earlier, show significant status correlations. The second remarkable feature is that the decline in correlation with genetic distance in the lineage is unchanged 1600-2022. Vast social changes in England between 1600 and 2022 would have been expected to increase social mobility. The third surprising feature is that the correlations parallel those of a simple model of additive genetic determination of status, with a genetic correlation in marriage of 0.6. There is confirming evidence from marriage records of strong and unchanged status assortment in marriage 1750-2022. Other evidence in the lineage supports the dominance of genetic transmission. For most status outcomes, for example, family size and birth order have no effect, and mothers and fathers have exactly the same weight in predicting child outcomes.
For further information please contact Timothy Bates.
The seminar will be followed by a wine reception in room 9.10, 40 George Square.