Cognitive skills, personality, and economic preferences in collegiate success

Stephen V. Burks, Connor Lewis, Paul A. Kivi, Amanda Wiener, Jon E. Anderson, Lorenz Götte, Colin G. DeYoung, Aldo Rustichini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We collected multiple measures from 100 students at a small public undergraduate liberal arts college in the Midwestern US and later assessed their academic success. The "proactive" (hard-working, persistent) aspect of the Big Five trait of Conscientiousness and not its "inhibitive" (organized, careful) aspect is a large positive predictor for two graduation outcomes and grade point average (GPA). The Big Five trait of Agreeableness ("pro-sociality") is a large and negative predictor for graduation outcomes. A non-standard cognitive skill measure (a backward-induction game) positively predicts graduation outcomes, in parallel with its success in predicting vocational student job success (Burks et al., 2009). Patient time preferences predict one graduation outcome and GPA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30-44
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Economic Behavior and Organization
StatePublished - Jul 1 2015


  • Aspect
  • Big Five
  • Cognitive skill
  • Conscientiousness
  • Economic preferences
  • Graduation

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