Publication Date



Surprisingly little research has examined the interaction between cognitive ability and personality amongst adolescents. We hypothesized that high cognitive ability would be of most benefit to school performance amongst those adolescents who were also high in “openness/intellect”. Respondents were 786 high school students (418 males, 359 females; 9 did not report) who completed standardized cognitive ability tests in the 7th Grade and provided personality and school performance scores in the 10th Grade. The mean age of participants in Grade 10 was 15.41 yrs. (SD = 0.53). As expected, intellect was associated with higher academic performance amongst those high in ability, but not amongst those low in ability, and this effect was consistent across different subjects, and across parametric and nonparametric analyses. The effect was not eliminated when other personality traits were controlled. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding and increasing academic performance.

Document Type

Journal Article

Access Rights

ERA Access

Grant Number


Access may be restricted.