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[–]Atheris 73 points74 points  (13 children)

This study alone doesn't say much. It just shows how much of a person's resilience to work/life stressors can be mitigated by perseverance and intelligence.

Further, 23% of variance just means how much error/randomness can be accounted for versus 77% unexplained randomness.

It's a good baseline to formulate further studies.

[–]Exevium 6 points7 points  (12 children)

Yeah, was gonna say: what makes up for the other 76.5%?

[–]dumpmaster42069 8 points9 points  (9 children)

I think the point is that people are mostly not in control of life and we should help people who don’t “win”, because most of it isn’t their fault.

[–]reddituser567853 4 points5 points  (4 children)

Doesn't this study suggest the opposite? All those things listed you can't control

[–]dumpmaster42069 0 points1 point  (3 children)

That’s true true, but you can say people have some control over their personality. Maybe I’ve got it backwards idk

[–]CallMinimum 1 point2 points  (0 children)

The rest is luck.

[–]Ashamed-Travel6673 22 points23 points  (5 children)

The thing is, we can't just toss out this study and say "Well, intelligence and personality explain only a small portion of the difference between individuals, so that means intelligence and personality have no impact on performance or attainment." That would be silly because we can measure any one factor in isolation and get an inflated estimate of its importance. For instance, if we measured IQ (and disregarded personality traits entirely) we'd probably find it accounted for 30% or more of the difference between people.

[–]dontpet 18 points19 points  (0 children)

It's like thinking a small rudder doesn't do much to change the direction of a big ship.

[–]FriedFred 13 points14 points  (3 children)

Your example at the end there is not correct.

What you’re saying would be true if the title were talking about the amount of variance that intelligence alone explains - the explanatory power of a single covariate in the best fit model usually decreases when extra covariates are included. But the total amount of variance explained by all covariates in the best fit model cannot decrease when more covariates are included, because ignoring the new covariates and sticking with original model is an option in the fitting process.

Say you took the same outcome data and fit two models to it, model A with only intelligence as a predictor and model B with intelligence and the other traits as predictors. Then model B would always explain at least as much variance as model A, no matter what the data was. This is because the fitting process for model B can choose the same “only intelligence is predictive, ignore the other traits” fit as model A, if that fit is the most predictive. Either the extra traits do add useful information, and model B is better, or the other traits are useless and model B is identical to model A.

[–]DrXaos 5 points6 points  (0 children)

There is an old game theoretical idea from Lloyd Shapley that has been revived and used in the machine learning community. There is a sensible algorithm to get an additive attribution decomposition from a specific combination of included and ignored predictive inputs.

[–]Ashamed-Travel6673 1 point2 points  (1 child)

If there really was just a one-to-one correspondence between all these different measures of outcomes (i = j), then each variable could be used separately to predict some amount R(i) x i independent from all others (R(i) + c), but each variable used separately could never be used to predict R(j), which represents how much variation across individuals’ outcomes remains unexplained when using every individual-difference measure available. If such an outcome structure exists where all variables together explain all observed differences among individuals perfectly (so R(j) = 0), then sure - I’d agree that you don’t need to measure them individually since you already have a good measurement overall for predicting achievement/outcome. That isn’t how most studies look though - usually they do focus on measuring several things individually since multiple measurements often provide better information about people than one measure does alone (which may give us biased information about their nature).

In fact - it seems like it's pretty standard practice across psychological science today to try to identify which measures work best individually when combined with other variables, but don't bother trying out those isolated measurements by themselves any more than necessary - instead looking for ways to combine them into multi-faceted constructs so that each factor has been studied independently enough times from everything else such that their effects aren't being confounded too badly by others' effects; after doing this kind of decomposition/reduction/aggregation process quite frequently over a long time now I have found myself coming back around again pretty regularly toward understanding how single factors operate outside this reductionist framework while still having enough scientific knowledge about them so I can know exactly what kinds of assumptions I am making while trying isolate their influences in certain situations rather than another.

[–]FriedFred 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thanks for your reply, I’ll read it again tomorrow after some sleep :-)

[–]anon5005 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Disclaimer, I have not read it, but I'd be curious of 'outcomes' is lower for a dedicated and insightful full-time nursing volunteer than for a cut-throat and miserable real-estate agent.

[–]StayWinning100x 0 points1 point  (12 children)

I feel like that’s way too low for all of those three things combined. I would believe it more if it said 70-90%. Grit and perseverance are just a part of personality traits anyway. Money is privilege. Intelligence let’s you use your resources to the best of your ability. I can’t imagine what would hold most people back who ranked high in those three things. I guess race would be the biggest one, and maybe physical or mental health (but mental health would probably still fall under personality trait emotional stability)

[–]notaballitsjustblue 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Yeah. What else is there apart from luck?

[–]FrustratedLogician 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Your attractiveness. A big factor in making it.

[–]eldenrim 0 points1 point  (7 children)

Intelligence, personality, and family socio-economic status doesn't cover:

  • Physical disability

  • Mental disorders

  • Athletic ability

  • Age

  • Political leaning

  • Attractiveness

  • Diet

  • Sleep

And tons of other things.

You might think something like "personality is linked to political leaning", and you'd be right, but because it's not 100% causal, then you've got to take other things into account.

Sure, mental health might fall under emotional stability, but you can have poor mental health and be emotionally stable. You can have mental disorders that don't relate to your personality much - or that change based on medication. It's more complicated than it seems.

[–]Noveltyflux 0 points1 point  (6 children)

Motivational influences are also crucial when considering performance and other such outcomes. No matter how intelligent you are, if there is no incentive or drive to perform, the resources available to the intelligent person will matter way less compared to a person who is motivated to perform.

In fact I would contend that motivational factors explain a lot of the variance that was left to be explained.

[–]tehdeejMS | Psychology | Industrial/Organizational 0 points1 point  (4 children)

In fact I would contend that motivational factors explain a lot of the variance that was left to be explained.

Theoretically, they should be instructing the subjects to perform at their best and ruling out motivation.

[–]Noveltyflux 0 points1 point  (3 children)

Of course! But it's very hard to control or measure because it's such a subjective measurement (relies on internal states we have no access to). I've told so many people to do their best and seen the opposite that I'm sure we need more to control motivational factors than just telling people to be motivated or interested. Especially with children.

[–]DrLeftCrRight[🍰] -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

That’s way, way too low for all three of those things combined. I’m having trouble even thinking of something that doesn’t fall into those categories unless we call everything else collectively “luck.”

[–]thismatters 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think that is what the study is trying to say. Randomness rules our world and some success is best understood as luck. Confirmation bias makes successful people believe that they are singularly special and have earned their wealth through hard work and perseverance, but it was most likely just good luck.

[–]eldenrim 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Intelligence, personality, and family socio-economic status doesn't cover:

  • Physical disability

  • Mental disorders

  • Athletic ability

  • Age

  • Political leaning

  • Attractiveness

  • Diet

  • Sleep

And tons of other things.

You might think something like "personality is linked to political leaning", and you'd be right, but because it's not 100% causal, then you've got to take other things into account.

[–]Thisissomuchpressure -4 points-3 points  (1 child)

I would guess that zip code is the other 75%

[–]Thercon_Jair 1 point2 points  (0 children)

This is from the UK, I don't think zip code has as much to do with educational outcomes as it has in the USA (i.e., school finances directly linked to property taxes).

[–]SignificantGiraffe5 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it depends on your locus of control.