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Running head: COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

A Correlational Study of the Personality Traits Courage and Curiosity in College Students Jessica S. Hart Loras College

COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

Abstract A correlation was looked at the personality trait score of courage and the personality trait score of curiosity in college students. Two surveys were given to obtain total scores of the personality traits of courage and curiosity, a modified version of the Woodard (2004) WPCS-30 survey for measuring courage and a modified Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI-II) survey to measure curiosity. Participants were gathered using non-probability convenience sampling, 13 males and 17 females completed the two surveys. Results show a negative correlation between the scores of courage and curiosity. A negative correlation is seen with the total score of courage and the total score of curiosity.

COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

Courage Personality Trait in College Students Using the definition from Woodard and Pury (2007), courage is the voluntary willingness to act, with or with-out varying levels of fear, in response to a threat to achieve an important, perhaps moral, outcome or goal. The courage scale developed by Woodard (2004) measured different constructs than seen in other research such as Schmidt and Kiselkas courage scoring; the Woodard willingness-to-act scores measured a different construct of courage. The willingness to act survey will be used in the present study. Woodard (2004) found one of the limitations of the willingness-to-act survey is that people are likely to want to perceive themselves with the socially desirable quality of courage and will tend to respond consistently with this motivation. Gender or sex roles was researched in a study conducted by Muris, Mayer, and Schubert (2009), and as predicted, childrens courage scores were positively linked to the personality trait of extraversion and the masculine sex role. In a study conducted by Renner (2006) about social curiosity in adults, it was reported that the younger adult sample reported higher scores on the social curiosity scales than the older adult sample. So it would be expected that those who are considered young adults would have higher curiosity scores. It is hypothesized that if someone has a score that indicates higher levels in courage they would have a score that would indicate higher levels curiosity; the null hypothesis is that there is no correlation between the scores for courage and curiosity. Method Participants Thirty participants were gathered by non-probability convenience sampling, 13 males and 17 females. Of the participants, 23 defined themselves as Caucasian, 3 as Latino/Hispanic, 1 Native American, 1 that identified as Caucasian/African American, 1 that was Caucasian/African

COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

American/Native American/Asian, and 1 that preferred not to answer. The age of the participants ranged from 18-23. There were 26 different major/minor combinations represented and 10 different minors. All 30 participants were Loras College students. Materials A modified version of the Woodard 2004 WPCS-30 survey on willingness to act was used to determine scores for courage. This survey had a reliability of .95 based on the results gathered, and the questions asked being valid to the subject of the survey. The survey was a 5 point based Likert scale (1 being strongly agree, 3 being neutral and 5 being strongly disagree), lower total scores represent higher levels of courage, scores ranged from 41 to 112. Statements were given such as, I would face rejection from others to reach my goals and I would go against social pressure to do the right thing. There were also a total of three reverse coded questions within the survey. The lower the total courage score, the higher level of courage observed. A modified Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI-II) survey was used to measure curiosity, there were three reverse coded questions on the 13 question survey. The Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI-II) survey was based on a 5 point based Likert scale (1 being very little or not at all and 5 being extremely), higher scores represent higher levels of curiosity, scores ranged from 27 to 62. Procedure Participants were given a consent form, demographics survey, the modified Willingness to Act survey, and the modified Curiosity and Exploration Inventory (CEI-II) survey. There was no penalty given to any of the participants if they did not wish to answer a question or stop completing the survey. Data was entered into SPSS based on the numbers circled on the willingness to act survey and three of the questions were then reverse coded on each survey. The

COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

lower the total courage score received the higher the level of courage observed in an individual. The higher total curiosity score showed higher levels of curiosity observed in the individual. Results There was a question that was missing data from the curiosity survey, which affected that individuals total score on the survey, that one individuals total score was omitted from the results. The total courage score average was 72.27 (SD= 17.71). The total curiosity score average was 44.66 (SD= 7.33). A comparison of the total courage and total curiosity scores was graphed (see Figure 1). Pearson Correlation was run on total courage and total curiosity scores, it was found to have a significant negative correlation (r(29)= -.4, p<.05). Discussion The null hypothesis was rejected and the results support the alternate hypothesis that if someone that has higher levels of courage then they will have higher levels of curiosity. Lower total scores on the courage survey indicate higher levels of courage while higher total scores on the curiosity survey indicate higher levels of curiosity. The negative correlation seen from the Pearson Correlation shows this relationship between the scores. When looking at literature that looks at the relationship of courage and curiosity personality traits it was realized that there is not much literature or studies that have looked at the correlation between the personality traits of courage and curiosity. The correlation in the personality traits of courage and curiosity may give new insight into research on the relationship between the personality traits of courage and curiosity. The relationship observed in this study is interesting because looking at the study by Renner (2006) about social curiosity it reported that the younger adult sample reported higher scores on social curiosity and the current relationship was observed in college students, it would be ideal that in future research to determine if the

COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

relationship with courage and curiosity would continue with age because the levels of courage seen in younger adults is larger than that of older adults. A limitation of this study was that there was one question on the curiosity survey that a participant did not answer, so their total score for courage was not included in the correlation. Other limitations were that the participants were gathered in a convenience style so very few sophomores took the surveys, and more females than males took the surveys. A limitation of this correlation study on courage and curiosity is that it does not give details in the relationship between the two traits; there is no information from the correlation study to determine the cause of the relationship, influences on the relationship between the personality traits of courage and curiosity, if the two personality traits are both independent of each other or if one trait is dependent on the other or if they are influenced by some outside source. Future research should be conducted to determine the relationship between the personality traits such as if they are independent or dependent of the other trait. The correlation observed between courage and curiosity scores has given insight into a relationship between these two personality traits which has not been researched in depth before.

COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

References Muris, P., Mayer, B., & Schubert, T. (2009). You might belong in Gryffindor: Childrens courage and its relationships to anxiety symptoms, big five personality traits, and sex roles. Child Psychiatry Human Development, 41, 204-213. doi:10.1007/s105780090161-x Renner, B. (2006). Curiosity about people: The development of a social curiosity measure in adults. Journal of Personality Assessment, 87(3), 305-316. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa8703_11 Woodard, C. R. (2004). Hardiness and the concept of courage. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 56(3), 173-185. doi:10.1037/1065-9293.56.3.0 Woodard, C. R., & Pury, C. L. S. (2007). The construct of courage categorization and measurement. Consulting Psychology Journal: Practice and Research, 59(2), 135147. doi:10.1037/1065-9293.59.2.135

COURAGE AND CURIOSITY CORRELATION

Figure 1. Scatter plot of total courage scores compared to total curiosity scores.