Exam success depends as much on confidence as on IQ

May 27th, 2009 - 11:11 am ICT by ANI  

London, May 27 (ANI): If you consider yourself to be smarter than others, your children are also likely to think the same way, for a new study has shown that intellectual confidence is genetically inherited.

Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a psychologist who led the study at Goldsmiths University in London, says that intellectual confidence is independent from actual intelligence.

The researcher even says that these genetic differences predict grades in school.

During the study, the university team found that 7- to 10-year-old children, who achieved the best marks in school, tended to rate their own abilities highly, even when the researchers accounted for differences due to intelligence and environment.

Chamorro-Premuzic pints out that it has been a belief among psychologists for long that intelligence is not the only predictor of scholastic achievement, and that intellectual confidence does a good a job of predicting grades as well.

“There has been a very, very big lobby within educational psychology against the notion of IQ. And part of this lobby has been based on the idea that self-perceptions matter more than actual ability,” New Scientist magazine quoted the researchers as saying.

While scientists have long assumed that environmental factors-such as the influence of parents, teachers and friends-explain why some students think more of their abilities than others, Chamorro-Premuzic says that this is only partially true.

According to Chamorro-Premuzic’s team, only about half of differences in children’s self-perceived abilities can be explained by environment, and the other half seems to be genetic.

For comparison, genes can explain about 80 per cent of the differences in height, they say.

The researchers came to this conclusion after comparing intelligence, grades and personal ratings of 1966 pairs of identical twins and 1877 pairs of non-identical or fraternal twins.

Given that identical twins share nearly all their genes and fraternal twins just half, the researchers were able to calculate how much of the differences in intellectual confidence were due to genetic versus environmental factors.

“The findings challenge conventional thinking on student psychology and may suggest that the assumptions underlying student academic attainment are erroneous,” says Timothy Judge, a psychologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

A research article on the study has been published in the journal Psychological Science. (ANI)

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