Timothy Bates

Last updated

Timothy Bates
Nationality New Zealand
Alma mater University of Auckland
Known forResearch on the genetics of dyslexia, intelligence, personality, wellbeing
Scientific career
Fields Psychology, behaviour genetics
Institutions University of Edinburgh
Thesis Psychometric & psychophysiological measures for schizotypy, creativity & psychoticism  (1993)
Doctoral advisor Gordon Mangan

Timothy C. Bates (born 1963) is a professor of differential psychology at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests include the genetics of reading and spelling, intelligence, and personality. [1]



He is a member of the editorial board of the journal Intelligence . His PhD was completed in 1994 at the University of Auckland (New Zealand) and integrated the Eysenckian dimensional model of psychosis with the categorical model of schizotypy proposed by Paul E. Meehl, using measures of personality, creativity, evoked potentials, and smooth pursuit eye movement dysfunction. The title of his doctoral thesis was Psychometric & psychophysiological measures for schizotypy, creativity & psychoticism. [2]

Subsequent academic publications include demonstrating the existence of two separate forms of dyslexia, underpinned by distinct genes, [3] and, subsequently, demonstrating that the genes associated with dyslexia are also linked to normal variation in reading ability. [4] This work lead to searches for specific genes involved in reading and language. [5] [6]

In positive psychology, he showed (along with Alexander Weiss and Michelle Luciano) that the genes for happiness are genes for personality, suggesting that a general factor of genetic well-being and specific genetic influences from the five factor model traits of Extraversion, Neuroticism/Stability, and Conscientiousness completely explain the heritable component of differences in happiness. [7]

With Caroline Rae, Bates showed that creatine supports cognitive function – finding that creatine supplements in vegans substantially increased their cognitive ability and working memory by comparison with placebo. This supported a literal 'mental energy' model of intelligence, first postulated by Charles Spearman. In his work with the late Hans Eysenck and subsequently with Con Stough on the role of basic information processing speed in human intelligence, he used ERP complexity measures to argue for a modification to the Hendrickson and Hendrickson error [8] or "string theory" (so named as pins and string were used to make the measurements of EEG output) model of ability, to include a controlling role of attention. [9] [10] In related work on reaction time, he introduced a novel modification to the Jensen box, again controlling the role of attention in this task, and suggesting that under these conditions, intelligence is, as Arthur Jensen proposed, related to the rate of information processing defined in Fitts Law and using Claude Shannon's information metrics. [11]

At the University of Edinburgh he has investigated individual differences in intelligence, memory, [12] and the genetic and environmental influences on social behaviours, such as coalition affiliation, [13] politics, [14] and altruism. [15] Working with Ian Deary, Paul Irwing, and Geoff Derr, he reported evidence for substantial gender differences in intelligence in the form of much larger variance amongst males than amongst females, with more boys and men scoring in both the extreme high range, and in the extreme low range. [16]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dyslexia</span> Specific learning disability characterized by troubles with reading

Dyslexia, previously known as word blindness, is a learning disability that affects reading. Different people are affected to different degrees. Problems may include difficulties in spelling words, reading quickly, writing words, "sounding out" words in the head, pronouncing words when reading aloud and understanding what one reads. Often these difficulties are first noticed at school. The difficulties are involuntary, and people with this disorder have a normal desire to learn. People with dyslexia have higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), developmental language disorders, and difficulties with numbers.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Intelligence quotient</span> Score from a test designed to assess intelligence

An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from a set of standardised tests or subtests designed to assess human intelligence. The abbreviation "IQ" was coined by the psychologist William Stern for the German term Intelligenzquotient, his term for a scoring method for intelligence tests at University of Breslau he advocated in a 1912 book.

Discussions of race and intelligence – specifically, claims of differences in intelligence along racial lines – have appeared in both popular science and academic research since the modern concept of race was first introduced. With the inception of IQ testing in the early 20th century, differences in average test performance between racial groups were observed, though these differences have fluctuated and in many cases steadily decreased over time. Further complicating the issue, modern science has shown race to be a social construct rather than a biological reality, and intelligence has no undisputed definition. The validity of IQ testing as a metric for human intelligence is itself disputed. Today, the scientific consensus is that genetics does not explain differences in IQ test performance between groups, and that observed differences are environmental in origin.

Twin studies are studies conducted on identical or fraternal twins. They aim to reveal the importance of environmental and genetic influences for traits, phenotypes, and disorders. Twin research is considered a key tool in behavioral genetics and in related fields, from biology to psychology. Twin studies are part of the broader methodology used in behavior genetics, which uses all data that are genetically informative – siblings studies, adoption studies, pedigree, etc. These studies have been used to track traits ranging from personal behavior to the presentation of severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia.

The g factor is a construct developed in psychometric investigations of cognitive abilities and human intelligence. It is a variable that summarizes positive correlations among different cognitive tasks, reflecting the fact that an individual's performance on one type of cognitive task tends to be comparable to that person's performance on other kinds of cognitive tasks. The g factor typically accounts for 40 to 50 percent of the between-individual performance differences on a given cognitive test, and composite scores based on many tests are frequently regarded as estimates of individuals' standing on the g factor. The terms IQ, general intelligence, general cognitive ability, general mental ability, and simply intelligence are often used interchangeably to refer to this common core shared by cognitive tests. However, the g factor itself is a mathematical construct indicating the level of observed correlation between cognitive tasks. The measured value of this construct depends on the cognitive tasks that are used, and little is known about the underlying causes of the observed correlations.

In psychology, schizotypy is a theoretical concept that posits a continuum of personality characteristics and experiences, ranging from normal dissociative, imaginative states to extreme states of mind related to psychosis, especially schizophrenia. The continuum of personality proposed in schizotypy is in contrast to a categorical view of psychosis, wherein psychosis is considered a particular state of mind, which the person either has or does not have.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ian Deary</span> Scottish psychologist

Ian John Deary OBE, FBA, FRSE, FMedSci is a Scottish psychiatrist known for work in the fields of intelligence, cognitive ageing, cognitive epidemiology, and personality.

Hereditarianism is the doctrine or school of thought that heredity plays a significant role in determining human nature and character traits, such as intelligence and personality. Hereditarians believe in the power of genetics to explain human character traits and solve human social and political problems. Hereditarians adopt the view that an understanding of human evolution can extend the understanding of human nature.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DCDC2</span> Protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Doublecortin domain-containing protein 2 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the DCDC2 gene.

Research on the heritability of IQ inquires into the degree of variation in IQ within a population that is due to genetic variation between individuals in that population. There has been significant controversy in the academic community about the heritability of IQ since research on the issue began in the late nineteenth century. Intelligence in the normal range is a polygenic trait, meaning that it is influenced by more than one gene, and in the case of intelligence at least 500 genes. Further, explaining the similarity in IQ of closely related persons requires careful study because environmental factors may be correlated with genetic factors.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dyslexia-associated protein</span> Protein and coding gene in humans

Dyslexia-associated protein KIAA0319 is a protein which in humans is encoded by the KIAA0319 gene.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">DYX1C1</span> Protein-coding gene in the species Homo sapiens

Dyslexia susceptibility 1 candidate gene 1 protein is a protein that in humans is encoded by the DYX1C1 gene. This protein contains 420-amino acids with 3 tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) domains, thought to mediate protein–protein interactions.

In multivariate quantitative genetics, a genetic correlation is the proportion of variance that two traits share due to genetic causes, the correlation between the genetic influences on a trait and the genetic influences on a different trait estimating the degree of pleiotropy or causal overlap. A genetic correlation of 0 implies that the genetic effects on one trait are independent of the other, while a correlation of 1 implies that all of the genetic influences on the two traits are identical. The bivariate genetic correlation can be generalized to inferring genetic latent variable factors across > 2 traits using factor analysis. Genetic correlation models were introduced into behavioral genetics in the 1970s–1980s.

Dyslexia is a reading disorder wherein an individual experiences trouble with reading. Individuals with dyslexia have normal levels of intelligence but can exhibit difficulties with spelling, reading fluency, pronunciation, "sounding out" words, writing out words, and reading comprehension. The neurological nature and underlying causes of dyslexia are an active area of research. However, some experts believe that the distinction of dyslexia as a separate reading disorder and therefore recognized disability is a topic of some controversy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Behavioural genetics</span> Study of genetic-environment interactions influencing behaviour

Behavioural genetics, also referred to as behaviour genetics, is a field of scientific research that uses genetic methods to investigate the nature and origins of individual differences in behaviour. While the name "behavioural genetics" connotes a focus on genetic influences, the field broadly investigates the extent to which genetic and environmental factors influence individual differences, and the development of research designs that can remove the confounding of genes and environment. Behavioural genetics was founded as a scientific discipline by Francis Galton in the late 19th century, only to be discredited through association with eugenics movements before and during World War II. In the latter half of the 20th century, the field saw renewed prominence with research on inheritance of behaviour and mental illness in humans, as well as research on genetically informative model organisms through selective breeding and crosses. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries, technological advances in molecular genetics made it possible to measure and modify the genome directly. This led to major advances in model organism research and in human studies, leading to new scientific discoveries.

The Lothian birth-cohort studies are two ongoing cohort studies which primarily involve research into how childhood intelligence relates to intelligence and health in old age. The Lothian Birth Cohort studies of 1921 and 1936 have, respectively, followed up Lothian-based participants in the Scottish Mental Surveys of 1932 and 1947 in old age. Scottish Mental Survey data has provided a measure of the intelligence of Lothian Birth Cohort participants at age 11, which has enabled the investigation of how childhood intelligence relates to cognition, mental health and physical health in old age.

The dual-route theory of reading aloud was first described in the early 1970s. This theory suggests that two separate mental mechanisms, or cognitive routes, are involved in reading aloud, with output of both mechanisms contributing to the pronunciation of a written stimulus.

Intelligence and personality have traditionally been studied as separate entities in psychology, but more recent work has increasingly challenged this view. An increasing number of studies have recently explored the relationship between intelligence and personality, in particular the Big Five personality traits.

Wendy Johnson is an American differential psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She holds the chair in Differential Development in the Department of Psychology and Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Cognitive Epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh.

Michelle Luciano is a Reader in the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on the use of twin studies to estimate genetic and environmental contributions to human behavior.She has conducted research on the relationship between Mediterranean diet and brain volume. She was awarded the Visiting Professor Award to visit Trinity College Dublin in June 2019. She was a lead researcher in a study which identified 42 genetic variants associated with dyslexia and that the genetic risk was similar between sexes, this project was in collaboration with researchers from Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, and 23andMe.


  1. "Timothy Bates – Psychology". School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences. University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 20 July 2011.
  2. Bates, Timothy (1993). Psychometric & psychophysiological measures for schizotypy, creativity & psychoticism (Doctoral thesis). ResearchSpace@Auckland, University of Auckland. hdl:2292/56158.
  3. Bates, Timothy C.; Castles, Anne; Luciano, Michelle; Wright, Margaret J.; Coltheart, Max; Martin, Nicholas G. (2006). "Genetic and environmental bases of reading and spelling: A unified genetic dual route model". Reading and Writing. 20 (1–2): 147–171. doi:10.1007/s11145-006-9022-1. S2CID   17016723.
  4. Bates TC, Luciano M, Castles A, Coltheart M, Wright MJ, Martin NG (February 2007). "Replication of reported linkages for dyslexia and spelling and suggestive evidence for novel regions on chromosomes 4 and 17". European Journal of Human Genetics . 15 (2): 194–203. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201739 . PMID   17119535.
  5. Bates TC, Luciano M, Medland SE, Montgomery GW, Wright MJ, Martin NG (January 2011). "Genetic variance in a component of the language acquisition device: ROBO1 polymorphisms associated with phonological buffer deficits". Behavior Genetics . 41 (1): 50–7. doi:10.1007/s10519-010-9402-9. PMID   20949370. S2CID   13129473.
  6. Bates TC, Lind PA, Luciano M, Montgomery GW, Martin NG, Wright MJ (December 2010). "Dyslexia and DYX1C1: deficits in reading and spelling associated with a missense mutation". Molecular Psychiatry . 15 (12): 1190–6. doi: 10.1038/mp.2009.120 . PMID   19901951.
  7. Weiss A, Bates TC, Luciano M (March 2008). "Happiness is a personal(ity) thing: the genetics of personality and well-being in a representative sample" (PDF). Psychological Science . 19 (3): 205–10. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9280.2008.02068.x. hdl:20.500.11820/a343050c-5c67-4314-b859-09c56aa10d3b. PMID   18315789. S2CID   13081589.
  8. Hendrickson, Donna E.; Hendrickson, Alan E. (1980). "The biological basis of individual differences in intelligence". Personality and Individual Differences. 1: 3–33. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(80)90003-3.
  9. Bates, T.; Eysenck, H.J. (1993). "String length, attention & intelligence: Focussed attention reverses the string length-IQ relationship☆". Personality and Individual Differences. 15 (4): 363–371. doi:10.1016/0191-8869(93)90063-9.
  10. Bates, T (1995). "Intelligence and complexity of the averaged evoked potential: An attentional theory". Intelligence. 20: 27–39. doi:10.1016/0160-2896(95)90004-7.
  11. Bates, T (1998). "Improved reaction time method, information processing speed, and intelligence". Intelligence. 26: 53–62. doi:10.1016/S0160-2896(99)80052-X.
  12. Bates TC, Price JF, Harris SE, Marioni RE, Fowkes FG, Stewart MC, Murray GD, Whalley LJ, Starr JM, Deary IJ (July 2009). "Association of KIBRA and memory". Neuroscience Letters . 458 (3): 140–3. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2009.04.050. PMID   19397951. S2CID   143816223.
  13. Lewis GJ, Bates TC (November 2010). "Genetic evidence for multiple biological mechanisms underlying in-group favoritism". Psychological Science . 21 (11): 1623–8. doi:10.1177/0956797610387439. PMID   20974715. S2CID   27351021.
  14. Lewis GJ, Bates TC (August 2011). "From left to right: How the personality system allows basic traits to influence politics via characteristic moral adaptations". British Journal of Psychology . 102 (3): 546–58. doi:10.1111/j.2044-8295.2011.02016.x. PMID   21752005.
  15. Lewis GJ, Bates TC (August 2011). "A common heritable factor influences prosocial obligations across multiple domains". Biology Letters . 7 (4): 567–70. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2010.1187. PMC   3130221 . PMID   21307044.
  16. Deary, I; Irwing, P; Der, G; Bates, T (2007). "Brother–sister differences in the g factor in intelligence: Analysis of full, opposite-sex siblings from the NLSY1979". Intelligence. 35 (5): 451–456. doi:10.1016/j.intell.2006.09.003.