Theses Doctoral

An examination of how personality traits and implicit theories of intelligence affect metacognitive control over study-time allocation.

Wolf, Amie Diana

Effective monitoring and control over one’s thinking, or effective metacognition, is a central component to many cognitive tasks and thus is essential to optimize learning (Metcalfe, 1993; Paul, 1992; Reder, 1987; Reder & Ritter, 1992; Schneider & Lockl, 2002; Simon & Newell, 1971; Willingham, 2007). Many factors impact how strategies are implemented. We know a good deal about the cognitive variables that affect implementation of cognitive strategies, but nothing about personality or motivational traits that contribute to effective metacognitive strategy use. This study aimed to explore and clarify the relationship between personality traits, implicit theories of intelligence (Dweck, 1999) and metacognitive control over study time allocation and subsequent test performance. The independent variables included the personality traits described in the Five Factor model (McCrae & Costa, 1997; Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness) and participants’ implicit theories of intelligence (entity or incremental theory), as well as one between-subjects factor, which was time allotted to study passages, or time pressure (High Time Pressure vs. Low Time Pressure). The dependent variables included test performance and metacognitive strategy used. This study used a study-time allocation paradigm similar to the design used in the Son and Metcalfe (2000) study, where participants first ranked passages based on difficulty and interest, then studied the passages under either high or low time pressure. Participants were tested on their understanding of the material after studying. Participants also completed self-report measures of personality and implicit theories of intelligence. Primary findings revealed that participants high on Conscientiousness allocated more study-time to passages judged as interesting compared to participants who were average or low on Conscientiousness. Additionally, when faced with time constraints, participants who identified with an incremental theory of intelligence were more likely to allocate study-time to passages judged as interesting compared to participants who did not identify with an incremental theory of intelligence. Openness was positively related to test performance, and Extraversion was negatively related to test performance. Lastly, the trait Openness was significantly related to having an incremental theory of intelligence.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
School Psychology
Thesis Advisors
Peverly, Stephen
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 3, 2017