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J Pers Assess. 2014;96(1):46-52. doi: 10.1080/00223891.2013.806327. Epub 2013 Jun 24.

Openness to experience, intellect, and cognitive ability.

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  • 1a Department of Psychology , University of Minnesota.


An instrument designed to separate 2 midlevel traits within each of the Big Five (the Big Five Aspect Scales [BFAS]) was used to clarify the relation of personality to cognitive ability. The BFAS measures Openness to Experience and Intellect as separate (although related) traits, and refers to the broader Big Five trait as Openness/Intellect. In 2 samples (N = 125 and 189), Intellect was independently associated with general intelligence (g) and with verbal and nonverbal intelligence about equally. Openness was independently associated only with verbal intelligence. Implications of these findings are discussed for the empirical and conceptual relations of intelligence to personality and for the mechanisms potentially underlying both Openness/Intellect and cognitive ability.

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