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Monday, November 23, 2009

Discipline vs. IQ: Which One Determines Success?

IQ has been the subject of hundreds, if not thousands of research studies. Scholars have studied the link between IQ and race, gender, socioeconomic status - even music.

Yet for all the interest in the study of IQ, there has been comparatively little research on other influences on performance in school (or, to extrapolate - in the workplace.)

Could a more robust measure of self-discipline demonstrate that it’s more relevant to academic performance than IQ?

Researchers found that self-discipline was a significantly better predictor of academic performance 7 months later than IQ.

  • Both IQ and self-discipline are correlated with GPA, but self-discipline is a much more important contributor: those with low self-discipline have substantially lower grades than those with low IQs, and high-discipline students have much better grades than high-IQ students.
SOURCE: Duckworth, A.L., & Seligman, M.E.P. (2005). Self-discipline outdoes IQ in predicting academic performance of adolescents. Psychological Science, 16(12), 939-944.

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