Eugenio Proto, Aldo Rustichini, Andis Sofianos, 19 January 2018

Three attributes are often suggested to generate cooperative behaviour – a good heart, good norms, and intelligence. This column reports the results of a laboratory experiment in which groups of players benefited from learning to cooperate. It finds overwhelming support for the idea that intelligence is the primary condition for a socially cohesive, cooperative society. Warm feelings towards others and good norms have only a small and transitory effect.

Markus Jokela, Tuomas Pekkarinen, Matti Sarvimäki, Marko Terviö, Roope Uusitalo, 11 July 2017

There is strong empirical evidence of a secular rise in intelligence, but a lack of consistently measured data has hampered the identification of a similar increase in non-cognitive skills. Based on an analysis of half a million Finnish males, this column presents evidence that a long-term increase in scores for traits such as self-confidence, sociability, and leadership motivation has taken place. Just as with cognitive abilities, higher test scores for personality traits predict higher earnings.