People rated by others as competent, dutiful and self-disciplined have a higher IQ, research finds.
So, higher IQ is linked to people seen as having a strong sense of responsibility, being self-disciplined and confident in their own abilities.
All three are facets of the major personality trait of conscientiousness.
The general link between being conscientious and intelligence makes sense, the authors write, since…
“…conscientiousness and cognitive ability are positive
correlates of several real life outcomes.
It was proved that both variables are especially important predictors of job performance, school achievements, and health-related behavior.
Interestingly, in most studies the effects of conscientiousness and intelligence on life outcomes appear to be independent.”
The results come from research on many thousands of people in 86 different countries.
All were given personality and IQ tests.
The study was interested in the difference between how people rated their own personality and how others reported their personality.
The results showed that people who were seen by others as more competent, dutiful and self-disciplined also had higher IQs.
However, people who were seen as ‘achievement strivers’ tended to be less intelligent, although this is also a facet of being conscientious.
The picture was different, though, when people rated their own personalities.
Then, lower conscientiousness was linked to higher IQ.
The difference could be explained by the fact that people with higher IQs sometimes have to make less effort for the same result:
“Particularly, it has been suggested that less able individuals may compensate for their lower intellectual capacity by developing a high level of conscientiousness.
People with high intelligence do not need to be very conscientious as they can rely solely on their intellect to accomplish most tasks.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Learning and Individual Differences (Zajenkowski & Stolarski,, 2015).