Ability and personality correlates of general knowledge

The relationship of general knowledge (GK) with ability (IQ and abstract reasoning) and personality (Big Five traits and Typical Intellectual Engagement [TIE]) was investigated in a sample of 201 British university students. As predicted, GK was positively correlated with cognitive ability (more so with IQ [r=.46] than with abstract reasoning [r=.37]), TIE (r=.36) and Openness to Experience (r=.16), and negatively related to Neuroticism (r=-.18) and Extraversion (r=-.16). A total of 26% of GK variance was explained by measures of intelligence, though personality traits (particularly Neuroticism and Extraversion) showed incremental validity (5%) in the prediction of GK. Applied and theoretical implications are discussed.