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Key to students' academic success? Personality, not intelligence

It turns out that personality traits are more important than intelligence when it comes to success in education, according to a new study.

sex and relationships Updated: Dec 20, 2014 15:59 IST
personality traits

Personality-is-more-important-than-intelligence-for-a-student-s-academic-success-Shutterstock

It turns out that personality traits are more important than intelligence when it comes to success in education, according to a new study.

Dr Arthur Poropat at the Griffith University conducted the largest ever reviews of personality and academic performance. He based these reviews on the fundamental personality factors (Conscientiousness, Openness, Agreeableness, Emotional Stability, and Extraversion) and found Conscientiousness and Openness have the biggest influence on academic success.

Dr Poropat said that educational institutions needed to focus less upon intelligence and instead, pay more attention to each student's personality, as it was is more useful for guiding both students and teachers.

In practical terms, the amount of effort students were prepared to put in, and where that effort was focused, was at least as important as whether the students were smart. And a student with the most helpful personality would score a full grade higher than an average student in this regard, he added.

In Dr Poropat's research, a student's assessment of their own personality was as useful for predicting university success as intelligence rankings, and he said that it was possible for students to develop the most important personality traits linked with academic success.

By contrast, there was little evidence that intelligence could be 'taught', despite the popularity of brain-training apps, he added.

The results are published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences.