London: Curiosity may have killed the cat, but for students, it seems to be as important as intelligence in determining how well they perform at school.
So psychological scientists have started looking at factors other than intelligence that make some students outshine others.
Researchers performed a meta-analysis, gathering the data from about 200 studies involving 50,000 students. They found that curiosity did, indeed, influence academic performance, the journal Perspectives in Psychological Science reports.
In fact, it had quite a large effect, about the same as conscientiousness. When put together, conscientiousness and curiosity had as big an effect on performance as intelligence, according to a University of Edinburgh statement.
“If you’re intellectually curious, you’ll go home, you’ll read the books. If you’re perceptually curious, you might go travelling to foreign countries and try different foods,” says Sophie von Stumm of the University of Edinburgh, who led the study.
Both of these, von Stumm thought, could help you do better in school. She conducted the study with Benedikt Hell, University of Applied Sciences Northwestern Switzerland and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Goldsmiths University of London.
Conscientiousness is the inclination to go to class and do your homework. People who score high on this personality trait also tend to do well in school.