The effects of grit, conscientiousness and question order of unsolvable problems on subsequent performance

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Lowney, Peter
Issue Date
Higher Diploma in Arts in Psychology
Dublin Business School
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This experiment looks at the effects of uncontrollable repeated failure, task order, grit conscientiousness on problem solving performance in terms of accuracy or time spent. The online test compared two randomly assigned groups, one with unsolvable problems at the beginning and the second group with them in the middle of a series of number sequencing problems (n=316), with a view to learning the predictive effect of grit and conscientiousness and the effects of task order. There was not a significant difference in the accuracy or effort expended on subsequent problems in either group. Conscientiousness and grit were not predictors of the performance level but conscientiousness correlated positively with completion of the task. The Short Grit scale was not a predictor of task completion. Task order had no significant effect on the performance and the results did not fit with classical or cognitive theories of learned helplessness. Author keywords: learned helplessness, task order, problem solving, unsolvable problems, grit, conscientiousness