Hubert & Jan van Eyck, Adam & Eve (Detail from Ghent Altarpeice)
At the 2009 annual meeting of the Behavioral Genetics Association, I announced a $5,000 cash prize, the Bouchard Prize, to the first person who derives an analytical solution that “proves me wrong or irrelevant” in my contention that the necessary assumptions of latent common and unique environmental variables are “really stupid.” This page provides links to relevant documents for the Bouchard prize.
Why am I doing this? In the discussion section of the draft that I am working on, I conclude, "Perhaps the major reason for abandoning C and E is that they have operated as taken-for-granted, set-piece structures that have prevented us behavioral geneticists from thinking deeply about the environment." Indeed, I never truly appreciated the environment until I abandoned the broad and amorphous concepts of C and E and began simulating data using very specific, concrete events (i.e., the Xs in the draft and in the slides from my presentation).
To win the prize, you must make the same assumptions that I made in my presentation and then successfully complete two tasks. The first (and easier) task is to come up with real numbers for a “common genotype” variable for full sib pairs, a “unique genotype” variable for the first member of the pair, and a “unique genotype” variable for the second member of the pair so that the covariance matrix for the three “latent” genotypic variables equals a constant times an identity matrix. The second task is to find a nontrivial patterning of weights for concrete environmental events (i.e., Xs) such that: (1) a variable C (common environment) and two E variables (unique environments for sib 1 and for sib 2) are pairwise uncorrelated; and (2) the patterning leads to a different conclusion that the one I presented—namely, that a randomly selected X must have a correlation of either 0 or 1 for sibs.
The table below gives links to documents that describe the prize, provide details on the two tasks, and can assist you in completing the first task. The slides for my talk are also available as is a draft article that I intend to submit to a journal. Right click on the link and select a "download" option.
|Why Tom?||Background to the naming of the prize.|
|Two Tasks||The two tasks required to win the prize, along with some hints.|
|SingleGene1||Excel spreadsheet to assist you in completing Task 1 (6 parameters).|
|SingleGene2||Excel spreadsheet to assist you in completing Task 1 (2 parameters).|
|BGA 2009||My BGA presentation slides.|
|Draft Article||Draft article (comments appreciated).|