Bryan Caplan  

An Abstract that Whets My Appetite

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When I see an abstract like this, the article goes straight to the top of my queue:
The ability of personality traits to predict important life outcomes has traditionally been questioned because of the putative small effects of personality. In this article, we compare the predictive validity of personality traits with that of socioeconomic status (SES) and cognitive ability to test the relative contribution of personality traits to predictions of three critical outcomes: mortality, divorce, and occupational attainment... Results showed that the magnitude of the effects of personality traits on mortality, divorce, and occupational attainment was indistinguishable from the effects of SES and cognitive ability on these outcomes.
Soon I'll tell you what I think about the results.

P.S. If you're having trouble viewing the abstract, here's an ungated html version of the whole article.

Comments and Sharing

COMMENTS (6 to date)
Marcus writes:

From the abstract:

"In addition, an attempt was made to limit the review to studies that controlled for important background factors."

In other words, if you control for factors that strongly relate to height, then height has little to no effect on success at basketball.

Les writes:

If studies do not control for background factors, then their results may be subject to whatever influence that background factors might have.

Max M writes:

Can't seem to access the link =\

Daniel Lurker writes:

Link is dead.

Waiting with bated breath....

Zac Gochenour writes:

While I thank Bryan for graciously providing that ungated link, I seem to be having trouble reading the results tables (they're all jumbled up). Probably something to do with the transfer from PDF.

I too was intrigued by the topic but I find the conclusion "We found that personality traits are just as important as SES and IQ in predicting these important life outcomes" (emphasis mine) hard to believe. Sounds like statistical magic.

Would like to see what Bryan thinks.

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