Saturday 14 September 2013

Intelligence, personality and the world’s largest meta-analysis


You may recall that I had already spoken about intelligence and personality in July  arguing that there was a case for bringing these two measures together, at least in the sense of looking at the correlation between the common factors in each. Intelligence is linked with a good personality, in the sense of being altruistic, agreeable, relaxed, conscientious, sociable, and open-minded, with high levels of well-being and self-esteem. I concluded “We certainly need further studies… (to assess) the possibility of unification across individual differences in cognitive ability and personality under the banner of life history theory.

Unknown to me, for the past 4 years Kevin Stanek and his research team at the University of Minnesota have been collecting studies that examine the relations between personality and cognitive ability for what appears to be the world's largest meta-analysis. The goal of their research is to provide a detailed examination of the relationships between many cognitive ability factors (e.g., perceptual speed, verbal ability, etc) and personality traits (e.g., the Big Five factors and their facets, compound traits, etc). 

The University of Minnesota produced the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory in 1939, and millions have taken the test, as I did when studying undergraduate psychology. They obviously have some cultural capital in personality studies. It is good to build on strengths.

Kevin is looking for datasets with personality and cognitive ability data. All you need to do to contribute is provide the means, standard deviations, and inter-correlations for the personality and cognitive ability variables in your data set as well as the mean and standard deviation for age, % male/female in the sample, and % in various ethnic/racial groups (if collected). Only test-assessed (i.e., not self-estimated) cognitive ability measures and self-report, rating scale measures of personality (Likert type scales, not forced-choice comparisons) for non-pathological samples of participants age 12 or older are being included in the meta-analysis. No individual-level data needs to be provided, so the confidentiality of all of your participants' data will be maintained. All contributing researchers will be acknowledged. If you would like to contribute or have any questions, please e-mail Kevin at

There are two things I like about this proposal. It will look at the correlations between intelligence and personality, and it will be based on a very large collaborative study.

Can you dig out any data you may have in your filing cabinet, or pass on this message to anyone who might have such data?

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