Does personality affect academic performance? (3 insights)

This blog post aims to answer the question, “Does personality affect academic performance?” and explore the concept of personality and its impact on academic performance to help understand the answer. 

Does personality affect academic performance?

Yes, personality affects academic performance. The personality characteristics of neuroticism and extraversion have a detrimental impact on academic achievement, but the personality element of conscientiousness has a large and beneficial impact. 

The following are 3 insights into how personality affects academic performance –

  • Personality variables impact how pupils learn and develop throughout their academic careers. 
  • Personality qualities have been found to predict and impact academic motivation and accomplishment.
  • Three rationales for evaluating personality qualities as determinants of academic success.

These 3 insights into how personality affects academic performance will be discussed in further detail below after taking a deeper look at what personality means. 

What is Personality?

Individual variances in thinking, feeling, and acting patterns are referred to as personality. Understanding individual variances in certain personality qualities, such as friendliness or irritability, is one of the main goals of personality research. 

The other is comprehending how a person’s diverse pieces come together as a whole. The word personality comes from the Latin word persona, which refers to a theatrical mask worn by actors to present multiple parts or conceal their true identity.

At its most fundamental level, personality refers to a person’s distinctive patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. Personality is said to emerge from within an individual and to be pretty consistent throughout life.

While there are several definitions of personality, the majority of them focus on a pattern of actions and features that may be used to predict and explain a person’s behaviour.

Personality may be explained through a range of factors, ranging from genetic explanations for personality traits to the impact of environment and experience in creating an individual’s personality.

Characteristics of Personality.

The following core personality qualities, as well as traits and patterns of thinking and emotion, have a crucial role –

  • Behaviours have an identifiable order and regularity to them. People, in general, behave in the same or similar ways in a range of settings.
  • Personality is a psychological construct, but research reveals that biological processes and requirements can impact it.
  • Personality impacts not just how we move and respond in our surroundings, but it also drives us to behave in specific ways.
  • Personality is expressed in a variety of ways, not simply via conduct. It shows up in our thoughts, feelings, personal relationships, and other social interactions as well.

What are these 3 insights into how personality affects academic performance?

Personality variables impact how pupils learn and develop throughout their academic careers. 

According to a study, personality variables have an impact on how pupils learn and develop throughout their academic careers. 

The purpose of the study, which was conducted on a representative sample of 259 University of Medicine students, was to examine the impact of three personality characteristics, Neuroticism, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and stress, on academic achievement. 

Only two personality characteristics have a substantial impact, and stress has a more motivating role, according to the findings.

Over time, personality research has produced answers to many issues and a complete picture of the causal relationships between a person’s internal world and their conduct in many settings. 

Personality traits ensure development, explain individual choices, and describe the level of involvement in various activities in the educational context, while the Big Five factors (neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeability, and conscientiousness) have been described as predictors for various aspects of academic evolution.

Academic performance and its relationship to personality have been extensively researched, as there is currently only broad agreement on the role of Conscientiousness, while the remaining factors either lack a clear definition or produce different results depending on the other variables in the study.

The impact of personality on academic motivation and performance was investigated in this study. The study’s participants were college students who volunteered to take part. 

They were asked to fill out a personality assessment (NEO-FFI) as well as a questionnaire about academic motivation (AMS-C 28, including GPA and demographic data). Conscientiousness predicted both intrinsic and extrinsic drive, whereas openness to experience predicted only intrinsic motivation, according to the findings. 

Academic motivation also moderated the connection between openness to experience and conscientiousness and academic achievement, as predicted.

Personality qualities have been found to predict and impact academic motivation and accomplishment.

Academic motivation is one of the most powerful influences on student progress. 

Learners must be enthusiastic about learning; else, the educational system will fail. Understanding and expanding one’s awareness of issues that influence academic motivation can therefore aid in improving academic success.

Although intellect and ability are thought to be determinants of academic success, there is evidence that personality factors play a role as well (O’connor & Paunonen, 2007). 

Personality factors may also influence academic motivation and performance, according to the research (e.g., Costa & McCrae, 1992; Komarraju & Karau, 2005; ChamorroPremuzic & Furnham, 2003, 2008).

Personality qualities have been shown to predict academic motivation and accomplishment (Costa & McCare, 1992). 

Motivation is a basic feature in the Big Five component model of personality, according to Grozier (1997), since conscientious people are organised, diligent, self-disciplined, ambitious, and persistent.

Furthermore, motivation has a significant impact on a student’s learning behaviour and accomplishment (Vallerand et al., 1992). 

Three rationales for evaluating personality qualities as determinants of academic success.

Three rationales for evaluating personality qualities as determinants of post-secondary students’ academic success are discussed by O’Connor and Paunonen (2007). 

For starters, behavioural inclinations expressed in personality traits might impact specific behaviours that promote academic accomplishments, such as persistence, conscientiousness, and talkativeness. 

Second, personality attributes indicate what an individual will do, whereas cognitive ability reflects what an individual can achieve. Third, personality and cognitive ability, particularly motivation-related personality factors, would better predict later performance in older pupils.

A number of studies have looked at the impact of conscientiousness on academic motivation (e.g., Clark & Schroth, 2010) and academic success (e.g., Laidra, Pullmann, & Allik, 2007; Kiliç-Bebek, 2000; Cheng & Ickes, 2009). 

The conscientiousness component, according to Wagerman and Funder (2007), is a valid and unique predictor of college achievement. 

Prior research has also confirmed the importance of openness to experience as a personality trait that predicts academic motivation (e.g., Clark & Schroth, 2010) and academic achievement (e.g., Clark & Schroth, 2010). (e.g., Laidra et al., 2007; Komarraju, Karau, & Schmeck, 2009).

The considerable links between academic motivation and academic success have been well documented (e.g., Robinson, 2003; Steinmayr & Spinath, 2009). 

The Big Five personality characteristics model has been used as a generic taxonomy in a wide range of behavioural and psychological studies. Extraversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, and openness to experience are the five variables that make up this paradigm.

The term “openness” refers to a wide variety of traits (McCrae & Costa, 1985). This personality attribute is linked to being creative, insightful, inquiring, artistic, and interested in a variety of topics. 

Conscientiousness, on the other hand, is one of the Big five’s dependable dimensions, and it deals with self-control, diligence, and being dependable, organised, responsible, planful, and detail-oriented.

It was hypothesised that the relationship between personality and academic performance would be mediated by intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, based on theoretical assumptions and empirical studies on personality (especially conscientiousness and openness to experience) and its effect on academic motivation and achievement (e.g., Costa & McCrae, 1992; Grozier, 1997; Komarraju et al., 2009; Clark & Schroth, 2010). 

According to the findings, conscientiousness and openness to experience can predict academic achievement (Komarraju & Karau, 2005), implying that students with high conscientiousness and openness will be more successful at university.

The findings also revealed that motivation mediates the relationship between personality factors and academic success. Conscientiousness, it might be inferred, predicts both inner and extrinsic drive. 

According to Grozier (1997), conscientious students are more likely to fulfil deadlines for assignments, complete things rather than leave them unfinished, put up a specific level of effort in a task, apply themselves without constant supervision, and so on.

Only intrinsic motivation and later academic success was predicted by openness to experience, implying that persons who score high on openness are intellectually curious, clever, perceptive, artistic, and interested. 

These characteristics may explain why pupils with a high level of openness do better. They seek to get a profound grasp of many subjects, for example, because they are curious and perceptive. This curiosity can lead to new learning methodologies and academic challenges, resulting in academic success.

Using past research as a guide, previous studies have found a link between openness to experience and intellect. 

For example, Chamorro-Premuzic and Furnham (2008) claim that openness to experience has an “investment” function as a determinant of higher IQ, arguing that IQ is impacted separately by fluid intelligence and openness to experience and that this affects deep learning, which leads to higher grades.

Finally, educators might look for low/high accomplishment causative elements in motivational and personality characteristics. It’s also worth considering the significance of these individual variances and attempting to detect them. 

Aside from personality and motivation, other factors (such as IQ, learning styles, and environmental factors) can influence academic performance and will be investigated in future studies.

Conclusion – 

This blog post attempted to answer the question, “Does personality affect academic performance?” and reviewed the concept of personality and its impact on academic performance to help determine if personality affects academic performance. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions or comments you may have.

References –

Nechita, F., Alexandru, D. O., Turcu-Ştiolică, R., & Nechita, D. (2015). The Influence of Personality Factors and Stress on Academic Performance. Current health sciences journal, 41(1), 47–61. Retrieved from 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6057531/#:~:text=The%20Neuroticism%20personality%20factor%20has,influence%20on%20the%20academic%20performance.

Hazrati-Viaria, A. et al. The effect of personality traits on academic performance: The mediating role of academic motivation. (2012). Retrieved from 

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042812000560/pdf?md5=6dc399c4ec1611dd802f218075679fa8&pid=1-s2.0-S1877042812000560-main.pdf

Corazzini, L. et al. The influence of personality traits on university performance: Evidence from Italian freshmen students. (2021,  November 3). Retrieved from 

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0258586

Vedel, Anna & Poropat, Arthur. (2017). Personality and Academic Performance. 10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_989-1. Retrieved from 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/313869097_Personality_and_Academic_Performance

Tomšik, Robert. (2018). IMPACT OF BIG FIVE PERSONALITY TRAITS ON ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS. Retrieved from 

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/326059227_IMPACT_OF_BIG_FIVE_PERSONALITY_TRAITS_ON_ACADEMIC_PERFORMANCE_OF_UNIVERSITY_STUDENTS

Pychyl, T. A. Personality, Homework Behavior and Academic Performance. (2010,  January 18). Retrieved from 

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/dont-delay/201001/personality-homework-behavior-and-academic-performance

Smith, M. Does a student’s personality affect their achievement? (2020, August 14). Retrieved from 

https://www.tes.com/magazine/article/does-students-personality-affect-their-achievement

Kumari, B. The correlation of Personality Traits and Academic performance: A review of literature. (2014, April). Retrieved from 

https://www.iosrjournals.org/iosr-jhss/papers/Vol19-issue4/Version-7/C019471518.pdf

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