Via @neurobonkers I found this article on NPR in which Angela Duckworth responds to the critiques on her Grit-concept and research as described in Much Ado about Grit: A Meta-Analytic Synthesis of the Grit Literature by Crede et al.
The 3 points of criticism are:
- Effect sizes in one of Duckworth’s major papers on grit were described incorrectly to sound misleadingly large.
(an improvement of 99% does sound better than going from 95% to 98%…)
- The impact of grit is exaggerated, especially when looking at broader populations of people — not just the high achievers in Duckworth’s initial studies.
Despite the claims on the cover of her book, the overall correlation between grit and success is 0.18… (or less)
- Grit is nearly identical to conscientiousness, which has been known to psychologists for decades as a major dimension of personality. It is not something that’s necessarily open to change, especially in adults, whereas Duckworth in her writings suggests that grit is.
And what is the reaction of Duckworth?
- The criticism is correct; “Crede is right that I should have said [it that way] … but again, the tables and statistics are entirely correct, and the intent was not to mislead!”
- Fundamentally, she told NPR Ed, she doesn’t disagree with Crede here either. She says her findings of the independent impact of grit are what personality psychologists would put in the “small-to-medium” range.
- Duckworth said in her response to Crede’s paper that she would prefer to think of grit as “a member of the conscientiousness family,” but one with independent predictive powers.