A growing body of research supports the notion that cognitive abilities and personality are systematically related. However, this research has focused largely on global personality dimensions and single—often equally global—markers of cognitive ability. The present study offers a more fine-grained perspective. Specifically, it is one of the first studies to comprehensively investigate the associations between both fluid and crystallized intelligence with Big Five personality domains as well as their facets. Based on a heterogeneous sample of the adult population in Germany (N
= 365), our study yielded three key findings. First, personality was more strongly related to crystallized intelligence than to fluid intelligence. This applied both to the total variance explained and to the effect sizes of most of the Big Five domains and facets. Second, facets explained a larger share of variance in both crystallized and fluid intelligence than did domains. Third, the associations of different facets of the same domain with cognitive ability differed, often quite markedly. These differential associations may substantially reduce—or even suppress—the domain-level associations. Our findings clearly attest to the added value of a facet-level perspective on the personality–cognitive ability interface. We discuss how such a fine-grained perspective can further theoretical understanding and enhance prediction.
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