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Title:The effects of educational experiences on personality trait development
Author(s):Jackson, Joshua J.
Director of Research:Roberts, Brent W.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Roberts, Brent W.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Fraley, R.C.; Pomerantz, Eva M.; Rounds, James; Verona, Edelyn
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
personality development
Big Five
latent growth models
Abstract:Recent research suggests that educational experiences lead to positive outcomes for reasons other than gains in cognitive abilities. Specifically, non-cognitive skills (i.e. personality traits) may change as a result of educational experiences (Heckman et al., 2010). To date, the idea that educational experiences contribute to changes in personality traits has received very little empirical support. The current study examines the relationship between educational experiences and personality trait development in a large German sample across four waves beginning in high school and throughout college. Findings suggest that personality traits in high school predict the type of educational experiences students have in college. Secondly, a number of educational experiences are associated with changes in personality traits. For example, going to class and spending more time on one’s homework is associated with increases in conscientiousness while having fewer stressful experiences are associated with decreases in neuroticism. Similarly, changes in educational experiences are associated with changes in personality traits, suggesting a reciprocal relationship between educational experiences and personality traits. Finally, a series of auto-regressive and auto-regressive latent trajectory (ALT) models found evidence that educational experiences can lead to changes in personality traits and vice-versa. Overall, this study suggests that educational contexts are important for the development of personality traits. Viewed in this light, one learns more in school than just class material.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Joshua J. Jackson
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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