The characteristics of Openness and Intellect suggest they may be differentially correlated with affect. In Study 1 (n = 224) we examined associations between Openness/Intellect and well-being. Additionally, we included variables related to ability perception: subjectively assessed intelligence and satisfaction with intelligence. In Study 2 (n = 216) we explored how Intellect/Openness predict subjective stress states related to performance of intelligence tests. Across studies, Intellect was consistently correlated with more positive affective states (mood and satisfaction), and lower stress. Openness – affect associations were inconsistent across studies, although Openness correlated with higher task-related worry and lower positive emotionality. Furthermore, in Study 1, satisfaction with one's intelligence fully mediated associations between Intellect and measures of positive affect. In Study 2, worry mediated the association between Intellect and intelligence test performance.
Numerous studies have shown the importance of personality for affect and subjective well-being (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998). Among various personality traits two especially have received the most theoretical and empirical attention: Extraversion and Neuroticism. Generally, both cognitive and affective components of well-being are associated with higher Extraversion and lower Neuroticism (Diener & Lucas, 1999). Specifically, it has been found that neurotics tend to experience negative affect and tense arousal, while extraverts have a tendency towards high levels of positive affect, hedonic tone, and energetic arousal (Matthews, Deary, & Whiteman, 2009; Thayer, 1989; Watson, 2000; Zajenkowski, Goryńska, & Winiewski, 2012). These associations are not surprising given that positive and negative emotions are defining characteristics of Extraversion and Neuroticism, respectively (see Watson, 2000). Besides Extraversion and Neuroticism, other major personality traits (such as Big Five) were also studied in the context of affective functioning but these studies have been less frequent. For instance, it was found that Agreeableness predicted higher positive affect (DeNeve & Cooper, 1998) and happiness (Steel, Schmidt, & Shultz, 2008), and Conscientiousness showed a weak positive correlation with life satisfaction (Weiss, Bates, & Luciano, 2008), positive affect (Soto, 2015) and energetic arousal (Goryńska, Winiewski, & Zajenkowski, 2015). In studies conducted so far, Openness did not exhibit robust relationships with affect and well-being. In some studies Openness correlated with higher positive affect, but it did not show significant associations with negative affect (Gutierrez, Jimenez, Hernandez, & Puente, 2005; Watson, 2000). Goryńska et al. (2015) measured mood of students six times during an academic semester and found that Openness occasionally predicted high levels of energetic arousal and hedonic tone. Furthermore, Matthews et al. (1999) found that Openness was associated with lower distress in the performance context. Although some evidence exists that Openness may be related to affect, some researchers claim that Openness has more in common with cognition than with affective states (Watson, 2000). In the current investigation we challenge this view by showing that the inconsistency in previous findings might be due to differing conceptualizations of Openness.