Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When is grit beneficial, and when is it not?

Angela Duckworth has been of the leading researchers on the topic of "grit" - something she defines as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”  She has found that grit can be a powerful predictor of academic achievement.   In short, she argues that academic achievement is not just a matter of raw intellect; grit matters a great deal. 

Now Magdalena Grohman, a faculty member at the University of Texas at Dallas, has questioned whether grit may be as powerful a predictor of creative achievement.   According to Grohman, "These are 'no results' that we are actually excited about. Creative achievement and grit, intellectual creativity and grit, everyday creativity and grit: no effects whatsoever."   She found that "openness to new experiences" did help creativity, but grit apparently did not.  Similarly, Yale's Zorana Pringle conducted a study in which she asked students to evaluate their peers in terms of the generation of creative and original ideas.  Grit scores did not correlate with high peer evaluations on creativity.  Grohman speculates that grit may be very useful in structured environments and tasks, but perhaps is less useful to individuals when they are embarking on ill-structured, creative endeavors.  More research certainly will be done in this area to explore this rather interesting set of new findings.

1 comment:

Ad Min said...

I read the article further and it touched on what I was going to say... that creative achievement is different than creativity.

If you look at people who've had creative success; the writers, directors, musicians, actors, painters... for the most part, you will see people with incredible grit and determination.

The high rate of failure in these careers means that they have to have grit in order to persevere and break through.