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Educational attainment (EA) is influenced by cognitive abilities and by other characteristics and traits. However little is known about the genetic architecture of these "non-cognitive" contributions to EA. Here, we use Genomic Structural Equation Modelling and results of prior genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of EA (N = 1,131,881) and cognitive test performance (N = 257,841) to estimate SNP associations with variation in EA that is independent of cognitive ability. We identified 157 genome-wide significant loci and a polygenic architecture accounting for 57% of genetic variance in EA. Phenotypic and biological annotation revealed that (1) both cognitive and non-cognitive contributions to EA were genetically correlated with socioeconomic success and longevity; and (2) non-cognitive contributions to EA were related to personality, decision making, risk-behavior, and increased risk for psychiatric disorders; (3) non-cognitive and cognitive contributions to EA were enriched in the same tissues and cell types, but (4) showed different associations with gray-matter neuroimaging phenotypes.

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