The claim that personality is more important than intelligence in predicting important life outcomes has been greatly exaggerated

Chen Zisman, Yoav Ganzach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We conduct a replication of Borghans, Golsteyn, Heckman and Humphries (PNAS, 2016) who suggested that personality is more important than intelligence in predicting important life outcomes. We focus on the prediction of educational (educational attainment, GPA) and occupational (pay) success, and analyze two of the databases that BGHH used (the NLSY79, n = 5594 and the MIDUS, n = 2240) as well as four additional databases, (the NLSY97, n = 2962, the WLS, n = 7646, the PIAAC, n = 3605 and the ADD health, n = 3553; all databases are American except of the PIAAC which is German). We found that for educational attainment the average R2 of intelligence was .232 whereas for personality it was .053. For GPA it was .229 and .024, respectively and for pay it was .080 and .040, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101631
JournalIntelligence
Volume92
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2022

Keywords

  • Educational attainment
  • Income
  • Intelligence
  • Life outcomes
  • Personality
  • The big-five

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