Intellectual Curiosity, Confidence Help Kids With Math, Reading

Children’s personalities may influence how they perform in math and reading, according to a study by psychology researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.

Proficiency in reading and math is associated with a complex system of skills, some of which derive from personality traits. In a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, researchers found that characteristics related to openness, such as intellectual curiosity and confidence, made children more adept to take on math and reading than characteristics describing conscientiousness, such as diligence and perseverance.

“Our findings provide additional knowledge on the complex set of skills that interact and give raise to differences in academic achievement between children, as well as the complexity of genetic architecture of academic achievement, which is made of many parts beyond intellect,” said the study’s lead author, Margherita Malanchini, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology and the Population Research Center at UT Austin.

In prior studies, differences in academic skills have been linked to differences in self-regulation, or how well children can control their behaviors and internal states against a backdrop of conflicting or distracting situations, drives and impulses. However, self-regulation is a very broad construct, incorporating both intellectual abilities, such as executive functioning, and personalitiy traits, such as conscientiousness, researchers said.

To understand the underlying skills and charcteristics of self-regulation and how they contribute to differences in reading and math proficiency, data was collected from more than 1,000 twins, ages 8-14, in the Texas Twin Project, a large population-based twin study directed by UT Austin psychology associate professors Elliot Tucker-Drob and Paige Harden. Studies on twins allow researchers to isolate and observe the impact of genetic and environmental factors — in this case, on association between self-regulation and academic skills.

Even after accounting for intelligence, researchers found a strong link between executive functioning — the ability to plan, organize and complete tasks — and proficiency in reading and math. This link was largely explained by genetic factors.

The study also showed that children who are higher in executive functioning demonstrated increases in levels of openness, intellectual curiosity and confidence. These links were attributed to shared genetic factors (60 percent) and environmental factors (40 percent). However, researchers did not observe the same for personality characteristics describing how conscientious and diligent a child is.

“This indicates that some of the genetic factors that predispose children to do well in school are also the same genetic factors that predispose children to be more open to new challenges, creative, intellectually curious and confident in their own academic ability,” said Tucker-Drob, who, along with Harden, is a faculty research associate in the university’s Population Research Center.

1 Comment

  1. Intellectual Curiosity and confidence would be interesting in this regard – how could these items not be noted – read – understood. Really?

    I know questioning Obama’s birth certificate is old, but these are very interesting questions that certainly deserve some answers.
    You can take a look at the birth certificate at: https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/birth-certificate-long-form.pdf

    These are only a few of the legitimate questions that have been asked by we “birthers” that have NEVER been answered !
    ( the more important question is what is going to happen when the truth comes out
    FOUR (4) Simple questions
    from an attorney
    Here are 4 Simple questions from an attorney…..
    Are there ANY logical answers? Do obvious facts mean nothing even though this is past history?
    You be the judge
    Here’s what I would like to know. If the TRUTH ever comes out and it is decided that Obama was never eligible to be president, what happens to all the laws he signed into being and all the executive orders?
    Should they all be null and void?
    Here are 4 Simple questions from a reputable attorney….. this should really get your “gray matter” to churning, even if you are an Obama fan.
    For all you “anti-Fox News” folks, none of this information came from Fox. All of it can be verified from legitimate sources (Wikipedia, the Kapiolani hospital website itself, and a good history book, as noted herein). It is very easy for someone to check out.
    4 Simple Questions…….
    1. Back in 1961 people of color were called ‘Negroes’. So how can the Obama ‘birth certificate’ state he is “African-American” when the term wasn’t even used at that time ?
    2. The birth certificate that the White House released lists Obama’s birth as August 4, 1961 and Lists Barack Hussein Obama as his father. No big deal, Right? At the time of Obama’s birth, it also shows that his father is aged 25 years old, and that Obama’s father was born in “Kenya, East Africa”.
    This wouldn’t seem like anything of concern, except the fact that Kenya did not even exist until 1963, two whole years after Obama’s birth, and 27 years after his father’s birth. How could Obama’s father have been born in a country that did not yet Exist?
    Up and until Kenya was formed in 1963, it was known as the “British East Africa Protectorate”. (check it below)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Kenya_%28http:/en.wikipedia.. org/wiki/Kenya%29
    3. On the Birth Certificate released by the White House, the listed place of birth is “Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital”.
    This cannot be, because the hospital(s) in question in 1961 were called “KauiKeolani Children’s Hospital” and “Kapi’olani Maternity Home”, respectively.
    The name did not change to Kapi’olani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital until 1978, when these two hospitals merged. How can this particular name of the hospital be on a birth certificate dated 1961 if this name had not yet been applied to it until 1978?
    (CHECK IT BELOW)
    ( http://www.kapiolani.org/ women-and-children/about-us/ default.aspx )
    Why hasn’t this been discussed in the major media?
    4. Perhaps a clue comes from Obama’s book on his father. He states how proud he is of his father fighting in WW II. I’m not a math genius, so I may need some help from you. Barack Obama’s “birth certificate” says his father was 25 years old in 1961 when Obama was born. That should have put his father’s date of birth approximately 1936 – if my math holds (Honest! I did that without a calculator!) Now we need a non-revised history book-one that hasn’t been altered to satisfy the author’s goals-to verify that WW II was basically between 1939 and 1945. Just how many 3 year olds fight in Wars? Even in the latest stages of WW II his father wouldn’t have been more than 9 years old. Does that mean that Mr. Obama is a liar, or simply chooses to alter the facts to satisfy his imagination or political pur
    “A pen in the hand of this president is far more dangerous than a gun
    in the hands of 200 million law-abiding citizens.
    Send this to as many Patriots as you can! Ask your Republican friends
    in Washington D.C. If they have a backbone…… Why in the hell
    can’t they use it and get media coverage to explode this across
    our country?

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