Neuroticism Predicts Reasoning Performance in Young but Not Older Adults.
AbstractObjective: This study was designed to explore age differences in the relationship of neuroticism with reasoning performance in a representative adult sample.Method: A probability sample of 242 adults (range 25-75 years; M age = 47.57 years) from the Midlife Development in the United States (MIDUS) Boston Study of Management Processes were measured on personality and cognition. Using Raven's Progressive Matrices Test as the dependent measure of reasoning, age and neuroticism were entered as independent variables into a hierarchical regression analysis with education and basic cognitive processes (processing speed and working memory) as control variables.Results: Age (younger) and neuroticism (lower) positively predicted reasoning performance. These main effects were further qualified by an age X neuroticism interaction. Younger adults low in neuroticism performed significantly better on reasoning than those high in neuroticism, whereas the relationship of neuroticism with reasoning was not significant for the middle-aged and older adults.Conclusions: Neuroticism affects reasoning performance in young adults but not older adults. Age-related improvements in emotional regulation are suggested as a mechanism for this relationship.