The trait is particularly important for general knowledge because it makes people more curious and motivates them to learn new things.
People who are open to new experiences tend to be more intelligent, psychological research finds.
Being open to experience means taking an interest in things that are new, complex and even unconventional.
They are often drawn to novel and complex ideas, and are willing to consider different perspectives.
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They tend to be less bound by tradition and more accepting of change.
In contrast, people who are low in openness to experience tend to be more conventional, prefer familiar experiences, and are more resistant to change.
Openness to experience is particularly important for general knowledge because it makes people more curious and motivates them to learn new things.
Openness to experience is one of the five major aspects of personality, which also includes neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness.
Being open, imaginative and sensitive to emotions, though, has the strongest link to a higher IQ.
The reason may be that being intelligent makes people more curious about the world.
This ‘cognitive hunger’ drives people to discover more about the world around them.
Cognitive hunger can be described as a “hunger” for mental stimulation, the drive to learn and understand new things, and the need to be mentally engaged.
This drive to learn and understand can manifest in a variety of ways, including reading, traveling, taking classes, and engaging in other activities that provide intellectual stimulation.
Being able to appreciate beauty and being curious are very strongly linked to a higher IQ.
Personality and IQ tests
The conclusions come from a study of around 500 people who completed personality and IQ tests.
The results showed that the strongest associations were seen between openness to experience and crystallised intelligence.
Openness has a number of facets of its own, the study’s authors explain:
“The Openness to Experience construct involves the tendency to fantasize (Fantasy), aesthetic sensitivity (Aesthetics), awareness of one’s emotions (Feelings), preference for novelty (Actions), intellectual curiosity (Ideas), and preference for nontraditional values (Values).”
Crystallised intelligence roughly equates to general knowledge: knowing many things about the world.
More intelligent people were particularly appreciative of beauty: they had a strong aesthetic sense.
They were also likely to be intellectually curious and to have an interest in ideas for their own sake.
These two facets of openness were most strongly linked to higher crystallised intelligence.
The study was published in the Journal of Research in Personality (Ashton et al., 2000).
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