Relationships between ability and personality: Three hypotheses tested

E J Austin, I J Deary, G J Gibson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper describes some studies of the interrelationship of personality and intelligence using data from a survey of Scottish farmers. (N = 210). Subjects completed the NEO Five Factor Inventory, Raven's Standard Progressive Matrices and the National Adult Reading test (NART). We address three hypotheses from the recent literature: that personality is more differentiated at high than at low levels of ability; that mental abilitites are more differentiated at low than at high levels of neuroticism, and that intelligence affects the correlation between certain airs of personality dimensions. Evidence is found for increased differentiation of neuroticism (N) and Openness (O) at higher levels of ability. It is also found that the level of N moderates the association between different types of mental ability. The Raven-NART correlation is depressed in low-N compared to high-N subjects; evidences is also found of a nonlinear relationship between ability and trait variables for N and O. No significant effects of ablity on correlations between pairs of personality dimensions are found; in particular there is no support for the hypothesis that intelligence affects the correlation between extraversion and conscientiousness. We also examine the effects of ability on reliability of the NEO dimensions. It is found that Cronbach alpha values are lower for lower ability subjects, particularly for the I dimension. The consequences of this in counfounding effects due to personality differentiation and differential reliability and the resulting difficulty in interpreting experimental observations in this area are discussed. Some possible experimental approaches to this problem are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-70
Number of pages22
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • TIME
  • IQ


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