The effects of faking on non-cognitive predictors of academic performance in University students

Nia Huws, Peter A. Reddy, Joel B. Talcott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined the extent to which students could fake responses on personality and approaches to studying questionnaires, and the effects of such responding on the validity of non-cognitive measures for predicting academic performance (AP). University students produced a profile of an ‘ideal’ student using the Big-Five personality taxonomy, which yielded a stereotype with low scores for Neuroticism, and high scores for the other four traits. A sub-set of participants were allocated to a condition in which they were instructed to fake their responses as University applicants, portraying themselves as positively as possible. Scores for these participants revealed higher scores than those in a control condition on measures of deep and strategic approaches to studying, but lower scores on the surface approach variable. Conscientiousness was a significant predictor of AP in both groups, but the predictive effect of approaches to studying variables and Openness to Experience identified in the control group was lower in the group who faked their responses. Non-cognitive psychometric measures can be valid predictors of AP, but scores on these measures can be affected by instructional set. Further implications for psychometric measurement in educational settings are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)476-480
Number of pages5
JournalLearning and Individual Differences
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • faking
  • personality
  • approaches to learning
  • non-cognitive predictors
  • academic performance
  • impression management


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