Are g and the General Factor of Personality (GFP) correlated?

Paul Irwing, Thomas Booth, Helmuth Nyborg, J. Philippe Rushton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined whether the General Factor of Personality (GFP) is related to the g factor of cognitive ability using data from the Vietnam Experience Study which randomly sampled 4462 Vietnam War veterans from a total sample of about five million Vietnam era army veterans. Exclusionary criteria included passing a fitness test, achieving a final rank of no higher than sergeant, and scoring above the 10th percentile on a pre-induction general aptitude test, but otherwise the sample is broadly representative of the U.S. male population for the period 1965–1971. A hierarchical confirmatory factor analysis of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI) and 15 cognitive ability tests yielded three first-order factors from the MMPI (Somatization, Internalization, and Externalization), and four first-order factors from the cognitive ability tests (Memory, Dexterity, Crystallized, and Fluid intelligence). At the apex of both measures was a general factor and we were able to fit a model which integrated both structures. This model provided a close fit to the data (χ2 = 3114.1, df = 235, RMSEA = .052, SRMR = .047, NNFI = .97), and provided an estimate of −.23 for the correlation between g and the GFP(Abnormal), that is, the higher the g score the higher the score on the GFP. One possible reason for the low correlation is restriction of range in the sample. Another is that intelligence and personality are to a degree mutually exclusive strategies, the first aimed at generating resources and the second at maximizing one's share of resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)296-305
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2012


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