Professor Michael S.C. Thomas (‘A scientific strategy for life chances’, May 2017) discusses the impact of socio-economic status on children’s life outcomes, but unfortunately does not examine genetic confounds. Some ways of untangling socio-economic status from cognitive ability have been set out by David Lubinski. Professor Thomas quotes Hart and Risley’s 1995 study without mentioning a re-analysis by Rinderman and Baumeister in 2015 suggesting that parental education (a proxy for intellectual ability) is a likely cause of differences attributed to class. He quotes Kimberley Noble and colleagues’ 2015 research without considering genetic interpretations of brain size differences which Professor Noble herself has sought to answer in open debate.
It seems premature to propose policy before examining other interpretations.
Dr James Thompson
University College London
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