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DFG project

Development of the personality trait intellect during the transition from school to work (326775236)

On April 1st, 2018, the above stated DFG project was successfully launched. Based on a specific personality trait - intellect – the DFG project deals with the development of personality and underlying processes. The project is being continued with funding from the Berlin University Alliance.

Within the framework of the project, bachelor and master assignments are regularly offered.


Intellect is an important personality trait that is particularly important for predicting and explaining intellectual performance, such as professional or academic success. Far less is known about the development of intellect. The aim of the intended study is to investigate changes in intellect during a critical phase: The transition from school to work. The planned study is to be conducted in cooperation with the provider of a career guidance test and would thus enable the recruitment of a large and heterogeneous sample in a longitudinal design over two years, starting with the first survey before leaving school. While previous studies on personality development have mainly focused on the Big Five, the planned study will expand our knowledge on normative changes in personality at the facet level. Focusing on one facet also allows us to investigate specific hypotheses on triggers and moderators of development as well as interindividual differences in developmental trajectories. We consider both selection and socialization effects in relation to a number of traits, including subjective and objective characteristics of education or profession; attitudes towards the changeability of personality; and personality traits beyond intellect, in particular the Big Five and intelligence.


Parties involved in the project

Patrick Mussel

Jantje de Vries


Cooperation partners

Prof. Dr. Matthias Ziegler, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Andreas Frintrup, HR Diagnostics AG

Maik Spengler, HR Diagnostics AG



We presented the first results at this year's World Congress on Personality in Hanoi:

de Vries, J., Spengler, M., Frintrup, A. & Mussel, P. (2019, April). Does mindset matter? How critical life events influence personality: The moderating role of mindset. Paper presented at the 3rd World Conference of Personality, Hanoi, Vietnam.

Further information