Personality, intelligence and general knowledge

by Adrian Furnham, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic
Learning and Individual Differences ()


Three studies, all on student populations, looked at the relationship between a recently psychometrised measure of General Knowledge [Irwing, P., Cammock, T., & Lynn, R. (2001). Some evidence for the existence of a general factor of semantic memory and its components. Personality and Individual Differences, 30, 857–871], both long and short versions of the Big Five Personality Inventory, one measure of general [Wonderlic, E. (1992). Wonderlic personnel test. Libertyville, IL: Wonderlic] and a short measure of fluid intelligence [Baddeley, A. (1968). A 3 min reasoning test based on grammatical transformation. Psychonomic Science, 10, 341–342]. Results were fairly consistent between studies indicating that General Knowledge was moderately correlated with general intelligence (r between .30 and .62). Personality correlates of General Knowledge were less consistent though, in two studies Conscientiousness and Openness was positively and significantly correlated with the total score. The advantages and disadvantages of using General Knowledge as a proxy intelligence test are considered.

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