Intelligence, Investment and Intellect: Re-examining Intelligence-Personality Associations

Von Stumm, Sophie. 2010. Intelligence, Investment and Intellect: Re-examining Intelligence-Personality Associations. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This dissertation emphasises a developmental perspective on intelligence-personality associations, whereby personality traits are thought to affect when, where and how people apply and invest their intelligence and thus, to shape adult intellect.

A first study addressed methodological issues in computing intelligence-personality associations and demonstrated that failure to separate variances of latent traits of ability into specific and common components affects the magnitude of correlation coefficients; these distortion effects, however, were overall small suggesting negligible consequences for the understanding of intelligence-personality associations. Secondly, existing investment trait constructs were identified from the psychological literature, and their associations with indicators of adult intellect were meta-analysed. The results suggested that investment was significantly (positively) associated with intellect, and consistently so across traits and indicators. A third study confirmed that the investmen-tintellect association was not confounded by general intelligence but remained significant after controlling for ability.

Subsequently, investment traits were newly conceptualised in terms of a multifaceted curiosity construct, including epistemic, perceptual and social curiosity. These facets were examined in relation to a newly developed knowledge test, which spanned thirteen domains of knowledge to comprehensively assess adult intellect. The results showed that curiosity was related to knowledge, even though associations varied in their strength and direction across curiosity facets, and they also differed in their relationship to general intelligence. Specifically, diverse perceptual curiosity, which refers to exploratory behaviour in response to sensory (e. g. visual, auditory, and tactile) stimulation, had a positive effect on knowledge independently of general intelligence.

In conclusion, the investment theory was supported as an underlying mechanism of intelligence-personality associations, even though the nature of investment was found to differ from traditional conceptions. Specifically, intellect may be significantly shaped by a healthy sense of exploration and a general hunger for experience, which are not necessarily ‘intellectual’ per se.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)


intelligence, intellect, investment, personality, meta-analysis

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Date Deposited:

17 Feb 2012 18:03

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 08:22


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