Russian scientists have refuted the «Grit Scale»

© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Palanimalai to the article: Russian scientists have refuted the Grit ScaleRussian scientists have refuted the «Grit Scale»© Illustration RIA Novosti . A. Polyanina

The last ten years, not only in science but also in applied psychology, as well as in the field of personnel selection popular personality inventory Scale of Grit (the»Grit Scale»). It was measured this trait as «grit» combines, on the one hand, perseverance in achieving objectives, and on the other the sustainability of human interests through time. Scientists at the HSE has found a way to prove that «grit» is not a separate personality trait, and a questionnaire measuring two independent features. The study is published in the journal European Journal of Psychological Assessment.

About ten years ago, an American researcher Angela Lee Duckworth (Angela Lee Duckworth) was coined by psychologists the name of the new traits – «grit» (grit), which translated to English means strength of character, endurance. Together with colleagues Duckworth developed a Grit personality inventory Scale. It turned out that having a high score on the «Grit Scale» demonstrate higher achievements in various fields (military, medical, science, sports) than people with low scores even with equal intelligence and social status. In some cases, the expressed trait is «grit» was more important for academic and professional success than intelligence.

The authors suggested that this contradiction of the original data is possible due to the fact that Duckworth has worked with the samples belonging to «Western culture», and Filipino students, it did not belong. Other studies followed, including the American samples also showed that persistence in achievement of goals and sustainability interests acting independently. However, to explain the reason for the discrepancy of the obtained data with the results of the team of Angela Lee Duckworth was difficult.
To top it all off and physiologists have discovered the independence of perseverance and constancy of interests. People with high scores on perseverance in solving difficult problems of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are mutually activate each other, whereas a high score on sustainability interests were associated with low activation of the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic system does not have any connection.
According to the researchers from the HSE, an important limitation of previous studies was the methods of data analysis.

© NIU Vsestary researcher of the International laboratory for education policy analysis at the HSE Yulia TyumenevaRussian scientists have refuted the «Grit Scale»© NIU Vsestary researcher of the International laboratory for education policy analysis at the HSE Yulia Tyumeneva


«All the authors used the methods of «classical test theory», which could not separate features of the test characteristics of the subjects. This separation is important, — says one of the authors is a senior researcher at the International laboratory for education policy analysis Yulia Tyumeneva. — If we, for example, conducting math test in the group of subjects and receive low scores, this test was difficult, or our subjects knew little about mathematics? To answer such important questions are used «modern test theory» (IRT). They are more complex, they require special computer programs, their application takes a long time to learn. But in the end, IRT allows you to «paste» feature test, and feature test.»

Scientists at the Institute of education, HSE has applied the methods IRT received data on a very large sample. And this is for the application of IRT significantly.
After a complicated multi-step analysis, the researchers came to the conclusion that there is no evidence that a single personality trait «grit» there. Rather, the questionnaire measures two independent traits: perseverance in achieving the goal, and constancy of interests.

© Fotolia / Nichizhenova ElenaСобеседование when applying for work Russian scientists have refuted the «Grit Scale»© Fotolia / Nichizhenova ElenaСобеседование when applying for a job

These traits can actually meet together in one man, as, for example, health can be combined with kindness, and the mind with beautiful appearance. This person is long and hard to achieve the same goals without losing interest in her. But just as these traits can meet and individually. Some people persistence is manifested quite clearly, but then they lose interest, and then, after some time seeking a new one with no less insistence. Other people’s interests can be the same, but any goals they set, and, respectively, no perseverance, do not show.

«Public untwisting the idea of «grit» can yield tangible dividends from the sale of appropriate tests and diagnostic services, — says Yulia Tyumeneva. Scientists, unfortunately, are unable by their own unaided research to stop unscrupulous employers. But what they can do is to inform the General public that to date they have found, and what to deny. We can confidently say that the traits of «grit» does not exist.»