Why do angry people overestimate their intelligence? Neuroticism as a suppressor of the association between Trait-Anger and subjectively assessed intelligence

Marcin Zajenkowski, Gilles E. Gignac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Trait-Anger and Neuroticism are substantially inter-correlated positively. However, there is some theoretical and empirical research that supports the notion that Trait-Anger and Neuroticism are influenced by several processes differentially. For instance, Trait-Anger is linked to optimistic bias, increased sense of control, approach motivation and high Narcissism. In contrast, Neuroticism correlates with pessimism, low sense of control, withdrawal motivation and low Narcissism. Building on these previous findings, we hypothesized that Trait-Anger and Neuroticism would be positively and negatively, respectively, associated with subjectively assessed intelligence (SAI). Furthermore, we expected that these two traits would act as mutual suppressors in predicting SAI. The results of two studies (ns = 303 and 225) supported our hypotheses. Trait-Anger was positively and Neuroticism negatively related to SAI, even after controlling for objective intelligence. These results are consistent with previous research which suggests that SAI is more substantially associated with personality than objective intelligence. Additionally, in study 2, we found that Narcissism mediated (partially) the relationship between Trait-Anger and SAI. In the discussion, we suggest that there might be two faces of Trait-Anger: one related to anxiety and one to overconfidence. Finally, a potential role of intelligence positive illusions in Trait-Anger is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-21
Number of pages10
JournalIntelligence
Volume70
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

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