An investigation of hereditary and environmental factors in musical ability
In the present investigation of hereditary and environnental factors in musical ability 78 parents and 67 children were tested with the Wing Standardised Tests of Musical Intelligence. Information on the amount of the subjects' playing, music lessons and listening was collected by Questionnaires. Correlations of up to .475 were found between the parents' and children's Wing scores. The Wing test was also given to 20 pairs of MZ child twins, 21 pairs of DZ child twins of like sex and 9 pairs of unlike sex. Results from 11 adult pairs were also used. The intrapair MZ correlations ranged from .794 to .846 and those for the DZ pairs from .677 to .761 for twins of both sexes together. Heritability Indices ranged from .262 to .423. The extent of intra-pair differences did not seem to be consistently related to age, interest in music, or amount of playing or lessons. Five pairs of identical twins brought up apart were also tested. For the 25 cases where both parents could be tested, the father-child correlation, .627, on the Wing test was much higher than that for mother and, child. The highest intra-pair correlation, .899, was found among the 10 pairs of MZ boy twins. The highest h2 Index, .617, was for the boy twins considered separately. In neither case was the sex difference explicable on environmental grounds, as assessable from the questionnaire data. The h2 index for Wing test 3 (memory) was .532. The general conclusion suggested by the present investigation and the past work in this field is that musical ability may have an important genetic component. Other results appeared to confirm that a) musical ability is largely specific, and b) a broad factor of general musical ability is obtained, even when the Wing tests are applied to select groups.