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The Keio Twin Research Center (KoTReC) was established in 2009 at Keio University to combine two longitudinal cohort projects — the Keio Twin Study (KTS) for adolescence and adulthood and the Tokyo Twin Cohort Project (ToTCoP) for infancy and childhood. KoTReC also conducted a two-time panel study of self-control and psychopathology in twin adolescence in 2012 and 2013 and three independent anonymous cross-sectional twin surveys (ToTcross) before 2012 — the ToTCross, the Junior and Senior High School Survey and the High School Survey. This article introduces the recent research designs of KoTReC and its publications.
The phenotypic and aetiological architecture of depression symptomatology has been mostly studied in Western samples. In this study, we conducted a genetically informed factor analysis to elucidate both the phenotypic and aetiological architectures of self-reported depression among a Japanese adult twin sample.
Depressive symptoms assessed by Zung's Self-rating Depression Scale were self-rated by 425 twin pairs (301 monozygotic and 124 dizygotic twin pairs) in a community sample in Japan.
An exploratory factor analysis extracted three symptom domains representing cognitive, affective and somatic symptomatology. A confirmatory factor analysis demonstrated that a bi-factor solution fitted better than the alternative solutions, implying that depression may be defined as a combination of a single general construct and three factors specific to each of the three symptom domains. A multivariate genetic analysis with the bi-factor solution showed that the general factor was substantially heritable (47%), and that only the affective symptom domain was significantly heritable (29%) among the three specific factors, their remaining variance being explained by non-shared environmental influences.
Depression symptomatology appears to be adequately captured by a substantially heritable general factor. The heritability of this factor (47%) in a Japanese adult sample is in line with commonly reported heritability estimates for depression. The three specific factors – cognitive, affective and somatic – are mostly explained by non-shared environmental factors, which include measurement error. The extent to which these specific factors are uniquely associated with correlates of depression when the general factor is accounted for should be investigated in future studies.
The Keio Twin Research Center has conducted two longitudinal twin cohort projects and has collected three independent and anonymous twin data sets for studies of phenotypes related to psychological, socio-economic, and mental health factors. The Keio Twin Study has examined adolescent and adult cohorts, with a total of over 2,400 pairs of twins and their parents. DNA samples are available for approximately 600 of these twin pairs. The Tokyo Twin Cohort Project has followed a total of 1,600 twin pairs from infancy to early childhood. The large-scale cross-sectional twin study (CROSS) has collected data from over 4,000 twin pairs, from 3 to 26 years of age, and from two high school twin cohorts containing a total of 1,000 pairs of twins. These data sets of anonymous twin studies have mainly targeted academic performance, attitude, and social environment. The present article introduces the research designs and major findings of our center, such as genetic structures of cognitive abilities, personality traits, and academic performances, developmental effects of genes and environment on attitude, socio-cognitive ability and parenting, genes x environment interaction on attitude and conduct problem, and statistical methodological challenges and so on. We discuss the challenges in conducting twin research in Japan.
This study examined the link between sibling relationships and children's social adjustment by comparing twin siblings and siblings with different ages (singleton siblings), and clarified the role of reciprocity in sibling relationships on children's social development. Mothers of 58 monozygotic twin pairs, 48 dizygotic twin pairs, and 86 singleton sibling pairs reported their children's sibling relationships and social adjustment. This study showed that the effects of sibling relationships on the prosocial behaviors and conduct problems of each child are stronger for twins than for singleton siblings. Moreover, positivity toward one's sibling increased peer problems only among monozygotic twins. The opposite tendency was present among dizygotic twins and singleton siblings. This study suggests the importance for children's social development of having many interactions with siblings and establishing reciprocity in sibling relationships. Moreover, our results suggest that the quality of sibling relationships among monozygotic twins may be different from those among dizygotic twins and singleton siblings.
Sex differences in mental rotation ability have been observed in many countries. A previous study of Finnish participants reported that genetic and environmental influences on mental rotation ability differ between sexes. In this study, we assessed genetic and environmental influences on variance in mental rotation ability in 649 Japanese twins using a mental rotation test. To explain the influence of sex on variance in mental rotation ability, we applied genetic analysis using the sex limitation model. The following two factors explained variance in mental rotation ability: (1) the additive genetic factor, which reflects the accumulated small influence of many genes, and (2) the unique environmental factor, which is a type of environmental factor that differs between co-twins. The shared environmental factor, a type of environmental factor common for co-twins, could not explain the variance in mental rotation ability. Furthermore, the additive genetic factor was the same between sexes (i.e., not qualitative sex differences for the additive genetic factor), indicating that the same genes affect mental rotation ability in both sexes. Despite this observation, the additive genetic influence was greater in males than in females. In contrast, the unique environmental influence was not different between sexes. Considering the current results and those of a previous study, the quantitative sex difference for the additive genetic influences in mental rotation ability may be universal, while the unique environmental differences may depend on the characteristics of specific populations.
Amultidisciplinary collaborative study examining cognition in a large sample of twins is outlined. A common experimental protocol and design is used in The Netherlands, Australia and Japan to measure cognitive ability using traditional IQ measures (i.e., psychometric IQ), processing speed (e.g., reaction time [RT] and inspection time [IT]), and working memory (e.g., spatial span, delayed response [DR] performance). The main aim is to investigate the genetic covariation among these cognitive phenotypes in order to use the correlated biological markers in future linkage and association analyses to detect quantitativetrait loci (QTLs). We outline the study and methodology, and report results from our preliminary analyses that examines the heritability of processing speed and working memory indices, and their phenotypic correlation with IQ. Heritability of Full Scale IQ was 87% in the Netherlands, 83% in Australia, and 71% in Japan. Heritability estimates for processing speed and working memory indices ranged from 33–64%. Associations of IQ with RT and IT (−0.28 to −0.36) replicated previous findings with those of higher cognitive ability showing faster speed of processing. Similarly, significant correlations were indicated between IQ and the spatial span working memory task (storage [0.31], executive processing [0.37]) and the DR working memory task (0.25), with those of higher cognitive ability showing better memory performance. These analyses establish the heritability of the processing speed and working memory measures to be used in our collaborative twin study of cognition, and support the findings that individual differences in processing speed and working memory may underlie individual differences in psychometric IQ.
We examined whether effortful control (EC), a temperament proposed by Rothbart and Bates (1998), has genetically coherent structure. A self- report measure of EC was administered to 450 Japanese twins (151 males and 299 females, ages 17 to 32 years) including 152 monozygotic and 73 dizygotic pairs. Univariate genetic analysis revealed that AE model fit best for the total EC as well as its subscales. The heritability estimate for total EC was 49%, and the estimates for subscales ranged between 32% and 45%. Multivariate genetic analysis revealed that the subscales of EC were genetically correlated to a high degree and environmentally correlated to a moderate degree. These results suggest that EC has substantial genetic basis and genetically coherent structure, supporting the validity of the construct. The implications to molecular genetic study and study of psychopathology were discussed.
In three studies, a General Factor of Personality (GFP) was found to occupy the apex of the hierarchical structure. In Study 1, a GFP emerged independent of method variance and accounted for 54% of the reliable variance in a multitrait–multimethod assessment of 391 Italian high school students that used self-, teacher-, and parent-ratings on the Big Five Questionnaire — Children. In Study 2, a GFP was found in the seven dimensions of Cloninger's Temperament and Character Inventory as well as the Big Five of the NEO PI-R, with the GFPtci correlating r = .72 with the GFPneo. These results indicate that the GFP is practically the same in both test batteries, and its existence does not depend on being extracted using the Big Five model. The GFP accounted for 22% of the total variance in these trait measures, which were assessed in 651 pairs of 14- to 30-year-old Japanese twins. In Study 3, a GFP accounted for 32% of the total variance in nine scales derived from the NEO PI-R, the Humor Styles Questionnaire, and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire assessed in 386 pairs of 18- to 74-year-old Canadian and U.S. twins. The GFP was found to be 50% heritable with high scores indicating openness, conscientiousness, sociability, agreeableness, emotional stability, good humor and emotional intelligence. The possible evolutionary origins of the GFP are discussed.
The purpose of the present study is to clarify the mechanism of Japanese self-esteem (SE) in genetic and environmental influences using twin methodology. Eighty-one pairs of adolescent twins, including 50 pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twins and 31 pairs of dizygotic (DZ) twins, participated in this study. Self-esteem was assessed using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES), translated into Japanese. As a result of using univariate twin analyses, model comparisons using the Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) indicated that the AE model was the best fit (AIC = −5.35). In the best-fitting AE model, the heritability (a2) of SE was revealed to be moderate, accounting for 49% of the variance; environmental influences (individual-specific environmental factors) explained 51% of the variance. These results are consistent with the findings of some behavioral genetics studies of SE in the West and show that there is no difference between Western and Japanese populations in the mechanism of SE considering genetic and environmental influences. The results also suggest the importance of considering both genetic and environmental factors in studies of Japanese SE.
The purpose of the present study was to clarify genetic and environmental origins of psychological traits of eating disorders using a Japanese female twin sample. Participants were 162 pairs of female twins consisting of 116 pairs of monozygotic (MZ) twins and 46 pairs of dizygotic (DZ) twins in their adolescence. Psychological traits of eating disorders were assessed with five subscales of the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI). As a result of using univariate twin analyses, among five subscales of EDI (maturity fears, ineffectiveness, interpersonal distrust, interoceptive awareness, and perfectionism), perfectionism showed significant additive genetic contributions and individual specific environmental effects. On the other hand, maturity fears, ineffectiveness, interoceptive awareness, and interpersonal distrust indicated significant shared environment contributions and individual specific environment effects. The results suggest the importance of both genetic and shared environmental influences on psychological traits of eating disorders in the present study.
Since established in 1998, the Keio Twin Project (KTP) has been dedicated to investigating genetic and environmental sources contributing to human psychological traits in adolescence and young adulthood. A population-based twin registry was constructed by the KTP through the use of official residential records in the Tokyo area, and to date requests to participate in our research have generated 1040 pairs of twins and triplets of age 14 to 30, forming one of the largest twin registries in Asia. Our comprehensive datasets, obtained through questionnaires, performance tests, and physical measurements, cover a wide range of human traits: personality, psychiatry, mental health, sociality, cognition, and physical index. Demographic variables and environment of upbringing are also sought by twins and by some parents. This extensive information allows us to clarify the genetic and environmental overlap across multiple traits as well as specificities unique to single traits. Adding an evolutionary psychology perspective to the behavior genetics framework is currently being attempted in order to develop a grand theory of human genetics.
The Tokyo Twin Cohort Project (ToTCoP) is a large-scale longitudinal study of 5 years based on 1619 pairs of infant twins reared together. The purpose of the study is to construct a population-based twin registry in Japan and to investigate human growth and development and twin themselves. It covers behavioral, neurological, physical and environmental variables measured by questionnaire, home visiting and brain imaging technology. The full registry contains over 47,000 multiple births collected from the Basic Resident Register, and the targeted population is 3070 probable twins of 0 to 2 years old. Preliminary analysis of the entry questionnaire data showed no serious sampling biases. Descriptive statistics of parental characteristics (parental age, gestation age, parity and placentation, maternal weight, parenting stress) and children's characteristics (body size at birth, 4 and 10 months of age, milk consumption, and sleeping and social behavior) and their correlations, genetic and environmental contributions and correlations are reported.
It is very hard to describe in a comprehensive way how intelligence has been treated in Japanese psychology and related areas in just a short chapter. We limit ourselves to three topics that highlight the contribution of Japanese psychology to our understanding of human intelligence, after briefly reviewing the Japanese history of intelligence research: (1) the development of indigenous intelligence tests, (2) the interaction between heredity and environment in intelligence, and (3) how “intelligence” is viewed in the Japanese culture.
INTELLIGENCE RESEARCH IN JAPAN: A HISTORICAL REVIEW
This review covers mainly the period of the 1860s to 1960s, but we will mention very briefly how education was pursued in the period preceding the Meiji Restoration. There was a fixed social stratification system in the Edo Era (age of feudalism), with no mobility. However, education was taken seriously in each stratum. Toward the end of the Edo Era, there were nearly 300 fief schools (hanko) in the country, and although no accurate statistics are available, several times that number of private academies (shijuku) existed (Amano, 1990). Children in the samurai stratum (the ruling class of warriors) usually were given moral education, rooted in the Chinese Confucian classics, at the fief schools. People in other strata learned the “three Rs” at private academies. Generally speaking, education was structured to preserve the shogunate ruling system. Only at the end of the Edo Era were innovative private academies established; these attracted ambitious students and offered foreign languages and modern, technical knowledge.
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