Positive Illusions Essay

1131 words - 5 pages

Are we half-awake? According to William James, we are only using a small amount of our available mental resources. He makes the statement that only exceptional individuals put these resources to use. These individuals can be defined as having “grit”, the perseverance and passion for long-term goals. Duckworth and colleagues hypothesized that grit is essential to high achievement. The researchers expected grit to be associated with Big Five Conscientiousness and self-control. Grit overlaps with Big Five conscientiousness but differs due to the emphasis on long-term achievement rather than short-term goals. Someone high in self-control may be able to stick to his or her diet or control his or ...view middle of the document...

The scale consisted of 27 items that tapped at the construct of grit with the goal of capturing attitudes and behaviors of high-achievers such as businessmen, lawyers, and other professionals. After the first trial, the scale was reduced to 17 items. The researchers considered item-total correlations, internal reliability coefficients, redundancy, and simplicity of vocabulary to eliminate 10 items. Furthermore, an exploratory factor analysis was conducted on the remaining items. The researchers kept items that had loadings of at least .40.
Six studies were done at the time of this publication. Study 1 was a cross-sectional study designed to develop a self-report measure of grit in a sample of adults 25 and older. Over 500,000 people took the survey on www.authentichappiness.org. As was predicted, more educated adults were higher in grit than those of equal age with less education. Two-way analysis of variance models were used to test for differences in grit by education and age. Study 2 tested the relationship between grit and Big Five conscientiousness while other Big Five traits were controlled for. In addition to the grit scale, participants also indicated the number of times they had changed careers and completed the Big Five Inventory. After proper eliminations, 690 participants was the resultant sample. Grit related to Conscientiousness (r .77, p .0010) more than Neuroticism (r .38, p .001), Agreeableness (r .24, p .001), Extraversion (r .22, p .001), and Openness to Experience (r .14, p .001). Study 3 aimed to test the association with grit and cumulative GPA among undergraduates at the University of Pennsylvania. The mean SAT score of the participants was 1415, which is achieved by less than 4% of all students that have taken the SAT. 350 psychology majors were recruited to complete the Grit Scale and report additional data, such as GPA, expected year of graduation, gender, and SAT sores. The results showed that grit scores were associated with higher GPAs (r .25, p .01). When SAT scores were held constant, grit related even more (r .34, p .001). SAT scores were, as expected, related to GPA (r .30, p .001). It is worthwhile to note that grit was also associated with lower SAT scores (r .20, p .03), which suggests that smarter students may be slightly less gritty than others. This could indicate that people who are not as smart as their...

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