Mothers want extraversion over conscientiousness or intelligence for their children

Latham, Rachel M and Von Stumm, Sophie. 2017. Mothers want extraversion over conscientiousness or intelligence for their children. Personality and Individual Differences, 119, pp. 262-265. ISSN 0191-8869 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Intelligence and conscientiousness are key predictors of all important life outcomes, such as socioeconomic success, marital status, health and longevity. It is unclear, however, if and to what extent lay people appreciate these dimensions of individual differences. Here, 142 mothers of 0-12 month old infants were asked to select from each of the Big Five personality traits the facets that they most liked their child to have. Afterwards, mothers rank-ordered the facets they had selected and ‘intelligence’ from most to least important for their child to have. Less than 10% of mothers rated intelligence and the conscientiousness facet as most important. By contrast, 51% rated the extraversion facet as most important, followed by 20% of mothers who favoured the agreeableness facet. Our results suggest that mothers preferred extraversion over intelligence and conscientiousness, despite their strong, empirically demonstrated predictive validity for important life outcomes.

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This work was supported by the Imagination Institute [grant number II-RFP-15-03]. SvS is the recipient of a Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship award (2017-2019).


Big Five, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Intelligence, Parenting, Personality

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27 July 2017Accepted
16 August 2017Published Online
1 December 2017Published

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11 Aug 2017 10:11

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27 Jul 2019 01:26

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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