The relative role of executive control and personality traits in grit
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Aguerre NV, Gómez-Ariza CJ, Bajo MT (2022) The relative role of executive control and personality traits in grit. PLoS ONE 17(6): e0269448. [https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0269448]
SponsorshipSpanish Government; Andalusian Government (Fondos FEDER) ES-2016-078667 PSI2015-65502-C2-1-P A.CTS.111.UGR18 PGC2018-093786-B-I00 PSI201565502-C2-2-P
Although grit is predictive of wellbeing, educational achievement, and success in life, it has been conceptualized as largely distinct from cognitive ability. The present study investigated the link between grit and executive functions since regulation abilities might underlie the expression of grit. A hundred thirty-four people were administered personality questionnaires (grit, impulsiveness, and mindfulness) and four experimental tasks tapping into Miyake’s and Braver’s models of executive functioning (including measures of flexibility, inhibition, working memory, and control mode dimensions). Multivariate analyses showed that two composite scores (trait and executive functioning) were reliably predictive of grit, although it was the trait composite (characterized by low impulsivity and high mindfulness) that explained more variance. Importantly, gritty participants did not demonstrate enhanced executive functioning. Instead, they exhibited a different pattern of performance that might be reflecting a cautious profile of control, characterized by paying attention to all available information, less reliance on previous contextual cues but sensitive to conflicting information of the current context. These findings converge with Duckworth’s idea that high grit people do not necessarily have a greater cognitive capacity. Rather, they use it in a different way.