We have all been made to believe that the one who scores the most in the class is more likely to be successful in life. However, a recent survey suggests that personality plays a bigger role in deciding how smart you are.
The study, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA, was conducted by a stellar team of researchers, which included Nobel laureate, James Heckman, Lex Borghans, Bart H.H. Golsteyn and John Eric Humphries.
THe researchers studied international data sets including IQ scores, standardized test results, grades and personality assessments for several thousand people across UK, US and the Netherlands.
The data also included information like criminal records, body mass index and self-reported life satisfaction over a period of decade.
The analysis of the data revealed that IQ in isolation was lesser predictor of financial or academic success. However on the other hand, when personality was taken in to consideration the success became clear.
The authors explained that a higher grade reflects ‘non-cognitive’ skills, such as perseverance, good study habits, concentration, showing that the personality of the individual makes a bigger impact than intelligence alone. These non-cognitive skills, which form the basis of our personality, are related to success in a big way is welcoming news according to the authors.
They say, 'personality or non-cognitive skills are more malleable at later ages than IQ, and there are effective adolescent interventions that promote personality but are much less successful in boosting IQ.'
Explaining the link between intelligence, personality and luck of relevance to an employee the authors say, 'Our ultimate goal is to improve human well-being, and a major determinant of well-being comes down to skills. Many people fail to break into the job market because they lack skills that aren’t measured on intelligence tests. They don’t understand how to behave with courtesy in job interviews. They may show up late or fail to dress properly. Or on the job, they make it obvious they’ll do no more than the minimum, if the work could help clarify the complicated, often misunderstood notion of ability.'
'Measures of personality predict achievement test scores and grades above and beyond IQ scores. Analysis using scores on achievement tests and grades as proxies for IQ conflate the effects of IQ with the effects of personality. Both measures have greater predictive power than IQ and personality alone, because they embody extra dimensions of personality not captured by our measures,' the authors concluded the study.