Personality‐cognition associations across the adult life span and potential moderators: Results from two cohorts

Simon, Sharon Sanz; Lee, Seonjoo; Stern, Yaakov

Objective: Personality and cognitive abilities have been previously linked. However, there are inconsistencies regarding whether this relationship varies as a function of age, and a lack of evidence on whether gender contributes to this relation, particularly across the adulthood. Therefore, this study investigated the association between personality and cognition across the adult life span, accounting for age and gender.

Methods: We examined the association between personality and cognition in two large samples (Sample 1: N = 422; Sample 2: N = 549) including young, middle‐aged and older adults. Participants completed personality scales and several cognitive measures related to reasoning, language, memory and speed of processing. Structural equation modeling was applied in order to investigate associations between personality and cognition, and moderation of age and gender within this relationship. We also conducted a mini‐meta‐analysis procedure in order to examine personality‐cognition associations, combining results from the two samples.

Results: Openness was the main trait associated with cognitive performance; however, Extraversion, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism were also independently associated with cognition. Age and gender did not consistently moderate personality‐cognition in each sample, but the mini‐metanalysis showed that gender moderated Conscientiousness‐cognition associations.

Conclusions: We provided robust evidence of personality‐cognition associations across the adult life span, which was not consistently moderated by age, but in part by gender.


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Journal of personality

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May 4, 2021