Student characteristics play a crucial role in the attention and enthusiasm directed toward learning. If a student sees no value in learning or does not expect to do well in an academic setting, then the student is unlikely to be motivated. Unraveling the antecedents of effort put toward learning (i.e., conscientiousness), ease of learning (i.e., cognitive abilities), and motivation (i.e., socioemotional skills) are seldom analyzed simultaneously. Rather, these domains are siloed. Substantial gains can be made by unifying these aspects of psychological function. This work evaluates this issue through the lens of gene-environment interplay, meaning the ways in which genetically influenced characteristics come to be correlated with and statistically dependent on environmental experiences. Cognitive abilities may develop in concert with one another (e.g., mutualism), whereas personality may develop in a more competitive manner (e.g., conscientiousness may conflict with extraversion). Or, growth in cognitive and academic skills may progress at a different rate for students with high compared to lower conscientiousness or expectancies for learning.
Congratulations Dr Briley!