Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cognitive and noncognitive predictors of success.

An interesting bit of work from Duckworth et al.
When predicting success, how important are personal attributes other than cognitive ability? To address this question, we capitalized on a full decade of prospective, longitudinal data from n = 11,258 cadets entering training at the US Military Academy at West Point. Prior to training, cognitive ability was negatively correlated with both physical ability and grit. Cognitive ability emerged as the strongest predictor of academic and military grades, but noncognitive attributes were more prognostic of other achievement outcomes, including successful completion of initiation training and 4-y graduation. We conclude that noncognitive aspects of human capital deserve greater attention from both scientists and practitioners interested in predicting real-world success.


  1. What's your take on grit? A lot of people question the validity of the construct, asserting that it's just a re-packaged conscientiousness.

    1. I think of grit as an unreflective stubborn toughness and persistence, not necessarily related to conscientiousness. I am not an expert on the arguments noted in your link.