People who are highly motivated score better on IQ tests, research reveals.
However, those who score lower on IQ test may simply be less motivated to complete the test.
Motivation could be a better predictor of success in life than IQ tests, the psychologists suggest.
In other words, what an IQ test is partly measuring is how well you want to do on an IQ test.
People with this motivation to succeed on an IQ test will also succeed in other areas of life.
When given an incentive to do well on an IQ test, those with lower scores improve dramatically, research has shown.
For the study, adolescents boys were observed taking an IQ test.
People watched the video and decided who was motivated based on whether they appeared to rush the test or skip questions.
The results showed that motivated boys got higher scores.
Professor Angela Duckworth, the study’s first author, said:
“IQ scores are absolutely predictive of long-term outcomes.
But what our study questions is whether that’s entirely because smarter people do better in life than other people or whether part of the predictive power coming from test motivation.
Could it be that part of the reason doing well on this test predicts future success is because the kinds of traits that would result in you doing well –compliance with authority, self-control, attentiveness, competitiveness — are traits that also help you in life?
This means that for people who get high IQ scores, they probably try hard and are intelligent.
But for people who get low scores, it can be an absence of either or both of those traits.”
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 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Duckworth et al., 2011).