For more than a decade, biometric moderation models have been used to examine whether genetic and environmental influences on individual differences might vary within the population. These quantitative Gene × Environment interaction models have the potential to elucidate not only when genetic and environmental influences on a phenotype might differ, but also why, as they provide an empirical test of several theoretical paradigms that serve as useful heuristics to explain etiology—diathesis-stress, bioecological, differential susceptibility, and social control. In the current article, we review how these developmental theories align with different patterns of findings from statistical models of gene-environment interplay. We then describe the extant empirical evidence, using work by our own research group and others, to lay out genetically informative plausible accounts of how phenotypes related to social inequality—physical health and cognition—might relate to these theoretical models.
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