Cognitive ability is the most powerful predictor of academic achievement. However, increasing attention is being paid to the role of personality traits in students’ academic achievement. Results indicate incremental effects beyond cognitive ability, especially for conscientiousness. Investigating the interplay of conscientiousness and cognitive ability can increase understanding of students’ academic achievement and learning. This study examined whether there are interaction effects of a synergistic or compensatory nature. We applied the approach of integrative data analysis, using four highly powered data sets with a total of 18,637 upper secondary school students in Germany to investigate this research question across four different achievement measures and three educational domains (i.e., school subjects). We used an integrative approach and pooled the results across the four samples to obtain an average estimate of the hypothesized interaction effects. Findings support a small synergistic interaction, indicating that conscientiousness moderates the association between cognitive ability and achievement. This means conscientiousness can enhance the positive effects of cognitive ability. In conclusion, results highlight the role of the type of academic measure used and the domain investigated in understanding how personality and achievement are related, providing evidence of the interplay between effort-related traits such as conscientiousness and cognitive ability.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Personality
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 04.10.2022
No renderer: handleNetPortal,dk.atira.pure.api.shared.model.researchoutput.ContributionToJournal

    Research areas

  • academic achievement, cognitive ability, conscientiousness, educational psychology

ID: 4604662